William “Brady” Roberts enjoys making a difference in his community as a member of the Harrells Volunteer Fire Department.
For his work with the department, he was recently honored as the 2017 Member of the Year. It’s awards to a member annually with votes from fellow firefighters. At the age of 19, Roberts is a little shocked to receive a big award in the department. He works with firefighters with many years of experience.
“I know I’ve done a lot over the years, but if you look at the past and history, some of the older guys have always won it,” Roberts said about being the youngest person to receive the award in recent years.
Roberts was inspired by his father to become a firefighter. He served with fire departments at Taylor’s Bridge and Wallace. Several of Robert’s friends also served with the Harrells Department.
“I just started going to meetings and caught on to it,” Roberts said. “After the first couple of calls and you get that adrenaline rush, there’s nothing else that can compare to that.”
The most important reason for Roberts is helping people during emergency situation such as putting out a fire or rescuing someone after a car wreck.
“There’s no feeling that gives you that sense of helpfulness when you show up and they’re happy to see you there,” he said.
As a volunteer, Roberts does not receive benefits that come with regular paying jobs. The only benefit that comes with the position is life insurance payments to beneficiaries if they die in the line of duty. He feels that’s it’s important for community members to join for many reasons, although it does not come with financial awards. for Roberts, some of benefits include leadership skills, encouragement to take initiative, assisting with events such as fundraisers and helping members of the community.
“It’s another organization that can help you gain friends, experience and life skills,” Roberts said.
He’s been a member of the department since 2014. The Sampson County native is originally from Delway and moved to the Harrells area after his father, Williams Roberts passed away in 2004. He graduated from Union High School and was involved with FFA, Beta Club and played varsity golf. During his high school days, he became the first recipient of the John Robert Rosario Memorial Scholarship.
Roberts is currently attending Sampson Community College, where he’s earning an associate’s degree. He plans to attend North Carolina State University in Turfgrass Science for his junior year.
Harrells Fire Chief Chief George McGill applauded Brady for his contributions to the department.
“He’s very dedicated,” McGill said about Roberts. “He has the initiative to do things without someone telling him what to do. He knows when something needs to be done and he gets right on it.”
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.