New fire chief Brian Jones — who first began working with the Somervell County Fire Department 20 years ago as a volunteer — said it’s like being part of a family.
"To me, this is a big family," Jones, 39, said Wednesday in his office. "It’s not just coworkers."
On June 8 the Somervell County Commissioners voted for Jones, 5-0, to be the new fire chief, filling the vacancy left after the retirement of Mark Crawford. Jones will also continue as the county’s emergency management coordinator, a position he has held the past three years.
Jones and Steve Willis had been assistant chiefs under Crawford, and were serving as co-chiefs before Jones was selected. Willis will retain his title as assistant chief. Brad Smith was previously named as the county’s fire marshal, a post that had also been held by Crawford.
Jones said the SCFD currently has 20 full-time employees, 10 part-time and 20 volunteers.
"We’re all excited and positive, moving forward in a positive direction," Jones said.
Jones, who will turn 40 in August, was a 1998 graduate of Glen Rose High School. He was born in Fort Worth, and lived in Granbury for several years. Jones attended school in Glen Rose for his seventh and eighth grade years, and again his senior year.
"My dad was a volunteer (firefighter) in Granbury for five or six years, so I was around it as a kid," Jones said. "I started here in 2000 as a volunteer. I had a buddy that was on the department here. I just always considered it (becoming a firefighter)."
Jones attended Tarleton State University in Stephenville, but changed his path to become a firefighter.
"I decided I enjoyed this and I wanted to make this a career," he said.
For a 5-1/2-year span earlier in his career while still living in Glen Rose, Jones drove to Copperas Cove every third day when he was employed as a firefighter for that city.
Jones trained at Hill College to become a certified EMT, and became certified as a paramedic in 2012.
"That was when they created the first six paid positions (firefighters and paramedics) here," Jones said.
He and his wife, Mikala, have two daughters — Emersyn, 5, and Sawyer, 2. Emersyn will be starting first grade this fall at Glen Rose Elementary School. Mikala, who works as an ICU nurse in Granbury, is a Glen Rose native.
"Once I moved here as a senior, I knew this is where I wanted to stay," Jones said. "I just really love this community."