Mason, firefighters honored for heroics

Deputy Chief Andy Mason, a 24-year veteran of the Biloxi Fire Department, has been awarded one the department’s highest honors, the Phil McCabe Five Bugle Award, an honor named for the department’s first chief and recognizing a member who exemplifies the department motto of “Always Ready with Willing Hearts.”

You can see the story behind Mason’s award, along with the complete replay of the annual Biloxi Fire Department Awards Ceremony held recently at the Biloxi Civic Center, each day at 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on BTV throughout December. The hour-long awards program is part of the featured programming on BTV for the month of December.

You’ll also see programs on Christmas traditions in Biloxi, the latest on downtown development, as well as updates from the contractors working on east Biloxi work and the scene from the classrooms in Biloxi Public Schools. Replays of City Council meetings and other programming is also part of the lineup.

However, the longest program of the month is the fire awards, honoring the heroic efforts of Biloxi firefighters. In all, more than 120 presentations were made, highlighting two dozen acts of heroism or accomplishment that “exemplify the highest ideals of the Biloxi Fire Department in its commitment and dedication to the city it serves.”

Also recognized was the life-saving feat of Firefighter Mark Dronet Jr., who jumped into the Bay of Biloxi to save a person. There also were lighter moments: Three firefighters were honored for rescuing a cat from a tree for its special owner.

Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich, Biloxi Fire Chief Joe Boney and Assistant Chief Mark Dronet made the presentations before an audience of about 200 firefighters, family members, friends and local businesses, who were being honored for their support of the department through the year.

Said Boney of Deputy Chief Mason: “This man’s service to God and his fellow man is one of his greatest traits, he is passionately devoted to his family; he is humble, kind, and gentle, and just in case you did not know, he is a closet Alabama fan, and an expert prankster.”

Added Boney: “In 1910, then Chief of Department for the FDNY, Edward Croker

stated it best when he said, ‘I have no ambition in this world but one, and that is to be a

firefighter, the position may in the eyes of some appear to be a lowly one, but we who know the work that the firefighter has to do believe his, to be a noble calling.’

“It is my belief that this year’s recipient is the Biloxi Fire Department’s living example of that phrase.”

Read the feats of heroism

Video: See the video replay now