Almost a year after the sudden passing of Chief Jeff Beckner, Botetourt County has hired a new Chief for its Fire and Emergency services department, in a largely rural county where blending paid and volunteer services can be a challenge. Matt Britt was recently introduced at a news conference by county officials and members of the search team. May 22 is his first official day on the job.
Britt comes from Randolph Community College in Asheboro, North Carolina, where he is the coordinator for Fire and Rescue services. His job there was to administer certification services for those in the profession and to manage the instructors for those courses.
Many things attracted Britt to Botetourt County, including its “really strong career and volunteer services. Coming from a strong volunteer background I really see the benefit of [that]. I felt it was a really strong place to work and be a part of. [And] it’s a really beautiful place to live.”
Britt says he does not see a difference between volunteer and career fire-rescue employees: “a fireman is a fireman. Man or woman, regardless of race or compensation. That’s how I try to administer my organization, with that in mind. Every member is equal and every member … is expected to live up to the same requirements and provide the same services to the community.”
Britt and his dog will arrive here later this month; his girlfriend will look for a teaching job here and then join him in Botetourt County. With the county growing, new major employers and residents on the way (Botetourt officials have made changes recently to encourage more apartment development and mixed-used building), Britt wants to create a strategic plan for his new position.
“Change doesn’t happen overnight. We have to plan for that new factory, that new housing community, that new manufacturing [facility] 5 or 10 years in advance to gain the resources and put them in place. Staying abreast of that is of the utmost importance.”
By Gene Marrano