Battalion chief honors father while celebrating 35 years of service


Battalion Chief Rickey Walker marked 35 years with the Collierville Fire Department on Oct. 12.
It was the same day that the town declared a bridge on Highway 72 George T. Walker Memorial Bridge in honor of Walker’s deceased father, Collierville‘s first black policeman and alderman.
The reminder of his father’s accomplishments and his tenacity in reaching them resonated with perfect timing on Walker’s anniversary.
Chief Walker’s career with the Collierville Fire Department began when he volunteered after hearing some firefighters speak at Career Day in high school. Walker enjoyed the mental and physical challenges of the job, and he enjoyed being someone who served his community.
Collierville was experiencing a lot of growth at the time, and for Walker, the Collierville Fire Department was the perfect place to grow and to mirror his father’s legacy of serving his neighborhood and his hometown.
The job is a tough one, with the main challenge being the unknown.
“You never know what type of emergency is coming next,” said Walker. “Weather, man-made disaster, childbirth – you have to stay focused.”
But the rewards are great as well. Walker feels rewarded when his squad minimizes the damage to property from a structure fire, and by just knowing that he can be called upon to perform a service that could save someone’s life.
“There are no words that could explain the feeling you have when you’ve saved a life by CPR, or by using the jaws of life rescue tool to cut a trapped person out of a car. That is the greatest reward,” said Walker.
Walker’s plan for the immediate future is to keep passing on the knowledge and the experience he has gained by mentoring young firefighters as they seek to climb the ranks structure of the fire department.
“This is a demanding and rewarding career,“ said Walker. “You will see things you have never seen before. Expect the unexpected and you’ll have a successful career.“