Williams stays active in community for the right reasons
Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of four articles of women making a difference in our community.
HOUSTON – “People don’t volunteer anymore just because it’s the right thing to do,” said Jennifer Williams of Houston.
But for Williams, volunteering is just part of her life.
Williams serves as Fire Chief for the Southeast Chickasaw Volunteer Fire Department and was the first woman elected to the Mississippi Fire Fighter’s Association Executive Board.
Her interest in fire fighting actually came about from her husband of 16 years.
“Heath was a fire fighter and he went to Paramedic school and got back into fire fighting,” Williams said. “I went with him to a couple of meetings and thought, ‘Hey, this is pretty cool,’ and there it was.”
Her work with the SEVFD seems like it would keep her free time booked, but she manages to find more. She serves on the Local Emergency Planning committee as well.
EMA Director Linda Griffin said Williams does more than many people realize.
“She doeesn’t like to be told she can’t do something,” Griffin said. “She has made a positive contribution to volunteer fire service as an active memer and also assists with teaching CPR classes. She was a crucial member of the emergency operations staff here at EMA when we were hit by two tornadoes in 2011.”
In between her volunteer work, she even manages to find time to work full-time for Mississippi State University as a Systems Administrator for the John C. Longest Student Health center.
Williams graduated MSU with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with emphasis in Business and Educational Psychology, but began working at MSU in computer systems while she was a student.
“I started straight out of high school,” Williams said. “It just kind of stuck.”
Her calendar is full with at least four meetings a month and she spends an hour or two a day working to improve the VFD.
“I’m always trying to do something, find a grant or recruiting and retention,” Williams said.
The Houston native is a member of First United Methodist Church, “since birth,” and said lending a hand in her community comes naturally.
“This is home,” Williams said. “I’ve always lived here. I want people to knwo if you need help, someboy’s coming.”
She recently posted on Facebook her philosophy on service to others.
“God doesn’t care about your diplomas or your certificates and all that,” Williams said. “He cares about your scars.”