South Georgia man follows dream - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

South Georgia man follows dream

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March 10, 2004

Camilla - Are you doing exactly what you want to do when it comes to a career? A man named, Bennie Clements, has always been fascinated with firefighters and police officers. With a little help, his dream has come true.

Bennie Clements is doing exactly what he loves to do, he's a volunteer firefighter in Camilla. Bennie is also a client at Mitchell Baker Service Center.

The 26-year-old was born without a voice, but born with a very big grin. Camilla Fire Lt. Bill Marshall says, "From the time he walks through the door to the time he leaves, he's all smiles, he's a good guy."

The Camilla Fire Department gave Bennie a uniform, complete with a shiny badge and name tag and his very own scanner. Marshall explains, "He can hear what goes on on our radios. He's right there with us no matter what."

Bennie doesn't fight fires, but he pulls his weight around the station. Marshall says, "These trucks never stay as clean as when Bennie is around."

Unlike most people, this honorary firefighter loves chores. When asked what he likes about being a firefighter, he wrote this note, "I like to keep clean trucks and check extinguishers at the department".

He checks fire extinguishers everywhere he goes. Marshall laughs, "From what I heard, he keeps Mitchell Baker Service Center straight when it comes to fire safety."

Camilla firefighters have taken him in as one of their own. Marshall smiles, "We love having him."

Even though Bennie can't audibly tell us how he feels, you can tell he's proud of the uniform by looking at his smile and the gleam in his eyes.

Bennie is also a volunteer firefighter in Sale City and a honorary deputy for Mitchell County Sheriff's Office.

He stands on corners and writes down tag numbers and car descriptions when drivers run stop signs.

posted at 6:20PM by kathryn.simmons@walb.com