Friday, November 4, 2016

Firefighter leaders Armstrong, Price build city's department over 23 years of volunteer work

Story, photo and video by Leah Sharp
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

Midway Fire Chief Butch Armstrong and Assistant Chief Vincent Price make up a long-running team at the Midway Fire Department.

This summer, Armstrong and Price celebrated their 23-year anniversary of being chief and assistant chief. They took on their leadership roles in June 1993.

“The only way I was going to take on being chief is if Vince would serve as assistant chief,” Armstrong recalled.

Armstrong has been with the fire department since he was 20, in 1974. He said he joined “because it was a family thing on my in-laws’ side of the family” and his brother-in-law invited him to join.

Price joined the department in 1976. He grew up in Midway, he said, so “it was a calling” for him to become a firefighter.

Armstrong said that a little after he had joined the department, Midway made some changes by stopping “old habits of being unorganized.” 

“Before Midway organized the volunteer fire station, a siren would go off and whomever could come to the station would hop on a truck and go put out the fire,”  Armstrong recalled. Now a team is organized to come to the fire station if a call is made.

“What once started out to having just a helmet and rubber jacket to now having a full body suit,” Armstrong said. “A lot has changed since we have joined.”

Current regulations require all volunteers to have their own full body suit and accessories that come with it.

The department has 13 volunteer firefighters. Armstrong works at Lehman’s antiques store. Price has been retired for 12 years.

Armstrong and Price said they have no intentions of stepping down from their positions any time soon.

“Together we have stuck it out, and built it up with the city’s help,” Armstrong said. “I think we did a good job.” In 2015, the city bought a new fire truck, and they were able to customize it to fit their needs. Price talks about the "brotherhood" of the department:

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