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Perry named N.C. Volunteer Fire Chief of the Year

Bryan L. Perry is the 2020 North Carolina Volunteer Fire Chief of the Year.

Perry has served Buxton Volunteer Fire Department as chief for almost 40 years.

Volunteers at the Buxton station nominated Perry for the honor, which was bestowed by the North Carolina Association of Fire Chiefs.

Perry joined the Buxton Fire Department in 1974. As he tells the story, he was married with a child on the way and his stepfather said “you need to join the fire department. Talk to Johnny Conner,” the chief at the time.

Perry said, “I’ll join up” but he didn’t have a clue. At his sign-up time, the volunteers had no individual gear. Firefighters wore tall boots and long coats. There were no air packs.

Perry’s nomination says “In his four decades as fire chief, he has done an unparalleled job of evolving with the fire service.”

At Buxton, Perry quickly rose to captain and in 1981, he was elected to the position of fire chief. He received certifications as firefighter I, II and III and the same year he was elected chief, Perry became a North Carolina fire instructor.

“Chief Perry has never stopped learning,” says the nomination. “Chief Perry’s focus on training, with emphasis on basics and techniques has given himself and his department a reputation as a no nonsense, skillful firefighting machine.”

Perry was instrumental in securing the county’s only live burn building, a valuable training venue for all Dare fire departments. The burn building is located behind the Buxton station.

Says the nomination, “Chief Perry is extremely involved in this community.” Over the years, he has served as president of the Cape Hatteras Water Association, as a youth coach for Dare County Parks and Recreation, as a member of the once-operating Hatteras Island Control Group, member of the Dare County Game Commission, where he has served as president, as the fire liaison for the Buxton Woods Coastal Reserve Advisory Board. He also belongs to numerous fire officer associations, such as the Dare County Association of Fire Officers.

He is the owner/operator of Frisco Rod and Gun and Frisco Shopping Center.

At the department’s annual dinner in January, Perry had just received the Eastern Carolina Firefighters Association award as regional Fire Chief of the Year.

The nomination’s concluding paragraph states: “Coming from a small village on the Outer Banks and a station of 80 calls a year, Chief Perry is known and respected throughout Dare County, the State of North Carolina and the Country. This is due to his Integrity, Leadership, Vision and Grit. Buxton, Dare County, North Carolina and the fire service overall are better because of Chief Bryan L. Perry.”

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