Farmer reflects on service

Dean Farmer was only 19 when he first began serving at the Farmville Fire Department as a probationary firefighter. Eighteen years later, he has a family, oversees the fire department and has made a notable impact in the Farmville community as the town, and department, has grown.

Farmer said the itch to fight fires began as a child.

“It was my goal to be a firefighter,” Farmer said.

He started in Farmville as a probationary firefighter, which Farmer described as a six-month period where new firefighters are introduced to the department’s operations and services.

In the period of time between his rise from probationary firefighter to chief, Farmer noted a steep growth in the town’s population that has impacted the department.

“I’ve definitely seen a lot of changes over the years, from apparatus, to response to incidents, personnel changes and the demand for service,” Farmer said.

“When I joined the department, the average response to calls was roughly 150 calls per year,” Farmer said. “Last year, we responded to 426 calls for service.”

“That’s a big change,” he added.

Though it’s not all work. Farmer said he enjoys spending time with his wife, Natalie and their four kids at their home in Keysville.

Natalie and Farmer’s first meeting could be considered similar to that of a romance. Farmer said he met Natalie when she was working as a nurse. He was transporting a patient from the Centra hospital to a hospital in Richmond.

“With four children, of course we’re very busy,” Farmer said, who has been married to Natalie for 15 years. “We enjoy vacationing, church and family activities.”

The family attends Tussekiah Baptist Church in Meherrin. Farmer said he and the family enjoy vacationing, with Florida and Disney World being popular destinations.

“My kids love to come to the fire station and look at the trucks and the equipment,” Farmer said.

In addition, he said the kids enjoy Farmville’s parks and the Wilck’s Lake area.

Farmer said he is grateful to the town for its support of the fire department, and said he and other representatives will be ready to return the favor.

“I think the community is very supportive of the department and all of our activities, and they have always shown support in any way possible,” Farmer said. “As a department, we’re proud of our community, and we enjoy participating in events and providing any service for the community that we possibly can.”

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