PCFD rookie school director honored
PELL CITY – Captain Larry Horton loves the excitement and action associated with being a firefighter, but what he enjoys is shaping “rookies” into experienced full-fledged firefighters.

“I still like the adrenaline rush of a call, but from very early on in my career, I enjoyed the training part,” said the 46-year-old captain, who has served with the Pell City Fire Department for 23 years.

In 1993 Horton received his Fire Instructor Certification and in 1994 he began serving as the director of the Pell City Fire Department Rookie School. He’s been training firefighters ever since.

“The enjoyment I get out of it is not only helping affect people’s life-long careers, but the citizens they serve,” Horton said.

Horton actually went through PCFD’s rookie school in 1990. He said since that time, the school has come a long way.

“There were a lot more people, not just me, involved with it,” Horton said. “Maybe I had the vision, but I had a lot of help and support.”

Hundreds of firefighters have attended PCFD’s rookie school to earn their state certification as firefighters.

“The city should be proud of the firefighters protecting people of this state, who got their start here,” Horton said.

It’s not uncommon for Horton to run into a former student at an event, and one of his former students recently became a fire chief at a large municipal fire department in the Birmingham metro area.

Horton, who has probably helped train 600-700 firefighters from across the state, said for him, the highlight of being director of the school was when his son Hunter attended and successfully completed rookie training there. His son is now a firefighter at Jacksonville and Palmerdale fire departments.

Horton was presented a proclamation by Mayor Joe Funderburg at Monday night’s council meeting, honoring the captain, who is a certified firefighter/paramedic, for his long, distinguished career in the fire service with Pell City.

“…Captain Horton has executed the duties and responsibilities of his office faithfully and honorably and has distinguished himself with his ability to teach and train the future firefighters of this city and state…” the proclamation states. “…Whereas to honor and recognized Captain Horton for his distinguished serve to the City of Pell City and the firefighters of this community, the City Council of the City of Pell City desires to name the Career Firefighter Instructional Facilities located at the Pell City Fire Academy in honor of Captain Larry T. Horton, Jr.”

Horton said it was a humbling experience to be recognized by the city for his 23 years of service as a firefighter and paramedic and then a captain of the department.

“I appreciate this recognition,” he said. “It means a lot to me.”

Contact David Atchison at datchison@dailyhome.com

© 2013