Editor's note: The following citation was read before presentation of the "Hometown Hero" award on Saturday, Oct. 2, at the Gateway to the Delta Festival in Charleston.
It won’t take you long to figure out the name of this year’s Hometown Hero.
He was born and raised right here in Charleston and attended school in Tallahatchie County.
At the age of 16, he began volunteering with the Charleston Fire Department, and he continues serving in that department to this very day. In 2002, he was named fire chief for the City of Charleston, a position he still holds, and he is also a dedicated first responder, answering all manner of accident calls.
Speaking of answering calls, in 2000 he was appointed as Tallahatchie County’s civil defense director, coordinating the direction of county government operations in response to emergencies. It was his job to implement emergency operation plans, community preparedness, emergency communication and coordination of emergency response agencies.
Through the fire department, he was for many years instrumental in helping to organize the Charleston Christmas parade and could be seen on the back of the fire truck waving, greeting parade watchers and passing out candy to the crowd. Also through the fire department, he has helped to organize and hold fundraisers, such as road blocks to raise money for the American Cancer Society.
While holding several different jobs in this area, he has served for numerous years on the job for the City of Charleston, such as city street department supervisor. For years, he also served as Charleston’s animal control officer, once even helping to bag a skunk that visited the square, very near here.
For the last several decades, he could be seen all over the city performing various tasks to make our way of life here a better one. Even now, he still drives the mosquito-spraying truck through Charleston’s neighborhoods.
He is a certified part-time law enforcement and reserve officer, and has worked for the Tallahatchie County Sheriff’s Department since 1996.
He has offered his knowledge to teach life-saving CPR classes to the community, visited elementary schools to teach children safety rules and offered tours of the fire department and trucks to organizations like the Boy Scouts.
He has volunteered and served as a cook for numerous community fund-raising events.
He has volunteered his time to coach softball teams for the Tallahatchie Youth League and volunteered his time for the Boys & Girls Club to participate in activities.
Over the years, he could be seen working security for ballgames, fairs and other events — events just like this one.
He has been one of the Gateway to the Delta Festival’s faithful volunteers since the very beginning, and is here from sun-up to way past sundown — always lending a helping hand.
With all of the numerous positions he holds, it’s amazing that he also works full time for the city of Batesville.
He is the father of two daughters, Shelbi and Anna, and is known as a loving grandfather to four: Brooklyn, John Austin, Tuck and Lyles.
He is a member of First Baptist Church.
He makes his home with Gail between Charleston and the Teasdale community.
He is one of those go-to guys that you can count on in any situation — going above and beyond the call of duty, always willing to help out in time of need. We are very fortunate to have him in our community because of his kindness, selflessness, many acts of heroism, civic involvement and genuine Christian character.
The 2021 Hometown Hero is Kevin Hodges.