By Richard Sullins |

Ronald Reagan was campaigning for his second term as President of the United States when Broadway’s Mayor, Donald Andrews, began serving with the Lee Ambulance Service as a responder. Now, six presidents and 38 years later, Andrews was honored for his service after 16 years of chairing the Lee County Fire Advisory Board.

The Lee County Board of Commissioners paid tribute to him at their September 12 meeting at the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center. A framed copy of the resolution outlining his many contributions to emergency services to Lee County was adopted and presented to Andrews as part of the agenda of business that evening.

The commissioners periodically recognize the contributions made by outstanding people and groups that contribute to the success of this community. But few among the members in that distinguished club are as humble about their own success as Andrews. You’ll find him in the row when group photos are made to celebrate a particular success, always pushing others to the front.

County Commission Chairman Kirk Smith read the resolution aloud as other members of the Fire Advisory Board and the Cape Fear Rural Fire Department, where Andrews presently serves as captain and treasurer, looked on.

Since 2006, the Broadway mayor has also served as chairman of the Advisory Board, whose chief duty is to make recommendations to the commissioners on fire protection and emergency services delivery to the county.

Andrews began his service to the community as a volunteer with the Lee Ambulance Service from 1984 to 1988, when the concept of trained emergency medical response was only beginning to emerge. He joined the Whiteville Rescue Unit in 1990 and stayed until 1996. He then became a part of Boone Trail Emergency services in 1996 before teaming up with the Cape Fear RFD in Broadway in 2003, where he remains as captain and treasurer.

Mayor Andrews earned his bachelor’s degree in business from UNC Pembroke in 1997 and was first elected as mayor of Broadway in November of 2007. He said the successes enjoyed by the Fire Advisory Board and, in a broader sense, the larger emergency response community, were the result of the commitment to excellence that each of them still remains dedicated to.

“It was an honor to be recognized by the Lee County Board of Commissioners and the Lee County Fire Advisory Board,” he told The Rant. “As I stated at the presentation, I really appreciated the confidence the Lee County Board of Commissioners placed in me that allowed me to serve the citizens of Lee County.”

Andrews said the recognition of his work was made possible only because he could stand on the shoulders of others who have also contributed to the work, including the staffs at the county Finance Office and Fire Marshal’s Office. It was that level of support that led him to be reappointed to the board four more times after his initial term began in 2006.

But his greatest joys came when he was surrounded by the men and women who provide fire protection and emergency services response in this County of 63,000 people.

“I am so grateful for the chance to meet the volunteers in the Lee County fire service,” he said. “Their dedication and willingness to give of their time to serve the communities they live in is what makes Lee County a great place.”