When Allen Powell was younger he says he admired his cousin who was a firefighter and thought it was the coolest job in the world. Now after more than a decade with the Thomasville Fire Department, Powell was promoted to battalion chief, the first African-American to hold that position in the department's 108-year history.
Battalion Chief Allen Powell says, "It feels good. I'm grateful that I've had the opportunity to make it to this point as far as becoming the first battalion chief, black battalion chief."
The fire department has three battalion chiefs, each chosen personally by Fire Chief Brian Croft.
Chief Brian Croft says, "Allen brings a lot of natural leadership ability. He's a very strong individual. He goes by the rules and he looks out for the department. He puts the department first, and that's what we have to have."
During his 16 years as a Thomasville firefighter, Allen Powell has worked his way up the ranks, and now as battalion chief he is a role model to younger firefighters in the department.
Firefighter Curtis Bradshaw with the Thomasville Fire Department says, "When I came to this fire department he was one of those who took me under his wing and showed me a lot of different things that I needed to know."
LT Derek Colson says, "He was the best man for the job anyway. Really, it didn't have nothing to do with race; he's just the best man for the job."
Battalion Chief Powell says he's taking it day by day, always making the safety of his men his main priority.