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.”

Mason’s award, announced during the fire department’s annual awards ceremony, was among more than 120 presentations, 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. The Nov. 8 ceremony was held at the Biloxi Civic Center. The hourlong ceremony is airing this month, at 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. daily, on BTV.

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

News & notes: Weekly report; council, Christmas photos

The week that was: Last week, the Fire Department answered 149 calls for service, including 107 medical emergencies and three fires; the Police Department handled 1,616 calls for service; the Community Development Department issued 62 building permits with a construction valuation of more than $550,000; and the Engineering Department continued to progress on projects throughout the city.  To see the reports covering last week, click here

City Council: The next meeting of the Biloxi City Council is Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. at Biloxi City Hall. To see the agenda and supporting documents, click here.

Children’s Christmas Parade: The City of Biloxi’s annual Children’s Christmas Parade took place on Friday night with nearly 100 youngster riding, walking or dancing along downtown Biloxi. The affair included the lighting of the Biloxi Town Green and a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus. To see photos from the event, click here.

Christmas in the City: The Biloxi Main Street’s 15th Annual Christmas in the City festival took place in downtown Biloxi on Saturday and included dozens of arts & craft vendors, food vendors and holiday music and performances. To see photos from the event, click here.