The Deeply Rooted Legacy of the Coffee County Rescue Squad

by | Oct 2023

IN COFFEE COUNTY lies a group of dedicated individuals who have significantly impacted the community for decades. Chief Neal Simmons and his wife and treasurer, Jennifer Simmons, are an integral part of the Coffee County Rescue Squad and are proud Tennessee Association Rescue Squad members.

The story of Chief Neal’s entry into the squad in 1987 is like something out of a movie. One night, he was drafted into service after the squad received a call about someone trapped in a cave. Little did he know that this was the start of a lifelong journey of kindness and compassion for the people of Coffee County.

Established in 1963, the Coffee County Rescue Squad has been a steadfast pillar of support for the community. Throughout the years, various rescue squads have come and gone across Tennessee, but Coffee County remains grounded in the spirit of caring and dedication. 

The squad was born out of necessity when an emergency call left the town without a clear solution. From that day forward, the rescue squad vowed to be prepared for any situation.

Their responsibilities are vast and vital, from providing crucial rehab support for the fire departments to responding to drownings and lake and river emergencies in the county. 

They are ready to assist city departments, automatically joining forces with the county fire departments for structure fires. 

This dedicated team includes state-certified experts in emergency medical responders, structural collapse, trench rescue, high and low-angle rescue, grain bin rescue, swift water, dive rescue and recovery, and search and rescue. 

Regular recertifications and continuous training exemplify their commitment to preparing for any challenge that comes their way. 

The rescue squad has recently expanded its capabilities to address the safety needs of grain farmers, who face unique hazards. 

Chief Neal proudly shared, “We’ve got 21 people certified in grain bin rescue. We have the equipment to use, and we just hope we never have to use it.” 

At the core of their endeavors lies a simple yet powerful mission: to help people in their time of need. This empathy and compassion drive the Coffee County Rescue Squad to go above and beyond for their community. 

Beyond their immediate rescue responsibilities, the squad is also working on documenting local storm shelters. Residents with storm shelters can reach out to the team, who will then mark the shelter’s GPS coordinates. This initiative ensures that the team can promptly check on the safety of those at risk during a storm. 

But it’s not all about emergencies and crisis management for the Coffee County Rescue Squad. They know how to bring joy and cheer to the community as well. Each year, they host a delightful Halloween event, inviting families to bring their little ones for a fun-filled evening of trick-or-treating. 

Chief Neal explained, “It’s a safe place to come. We decorate the building up and love having people come out. We’ve had a good turnout.”

The squad takes pride in offering various training opportunities, catering to individual preferences while ensuring everyone is well-prepared for their duties. 

“It takes everybody to run a call,” Chief Neal explained, “If you’re not trained, you can still come to the vehicle and make sure that if we need equipment, you’ve got equipment out for us when we get there. So we offer all sorts of training throughout the year, and the training is outstanding.”

The Coffee County Rescue Squad’s dedication extends beyond its county borders. They collaborate with neighboring Warren and Cannon Counties to form a more extensive and capable team. 

Chief Neal shared their approach and said, “We go anywhere in Tennessee. If we’re called, we’ll send them whatever they need to help them with their call. But we never leave Coffee County uncovered; we always make sure there’s someone in Coffee County to run a call when one comes in.”

To keep their noble mission strong, the Coffee County Rescue Squad relies heavily on the support and generosity of their community. Donations and active participation in the squad’s events, like their annual mail-out fundraiser and food booth at the Coffee County Fair, are pivotal in sustaining their vital work. And the community, in turn, shows up in full force to lend their support.

“They’re awesome. They step up to support us any way they can,” Chief Neal said.

The Coffee County Rescue Squad stands tall as a symbol of compassion, preparedness, dedication, love, and community spirit. From saving lives to organizing joyous events, Chief Neal Simmons, his wife, Jennifer, and the entire squad are a ray of hope and care for all. GN

More Good News

Faith: The Power of Perspective

Faith: The Power of Perspective

WE SAW the sky but little else through the window in the room where we sat. The gray and white clouds marched briskly by as blues and grays traded places.  She was convinced the clouds would...

read more
The Baldwin Cart Project

The Baldwin Cart Project

MR. HINSHAW’S Manufacturing Practicum class created a portable cart for Mrs. Baldwin’s Digital Arts class to hold their digital single-lens reflex (DSLR). Little did they know their senior capstone...

read more
A gift of compassion

A gift of compassion

THE HOLIDAYS are a joyous time of the year for many. Days filled with family and friends coming together to celebrate and spend time with each other. But for many, it can often be a stressful and...

read more
We’ve got the sauce

We’ve got the sauce

IT STARTED with the sauce. Take crushed tomatoes, add a splash of red wine, a whole lot of basil, and a few secret ingredients, and you get a hearty and authentic Italian red sauce that’s not too...

read more
A night out for creative souls

A night out for creative souls

THE CREATIVE souls of Manchester regularly enjoy wonderful, relaxing evenings at Manchester’s Board & Brush Creative Studio learning how to create signs as well as many other things from etched...

read more
A labor of love

A labor of love

IF YOU’RE looking for classic comfort food or freshly baked goods, The Mercantile Cafe in downtown Manchester is the perfect spot. Their wide variety of easy-to-grab selections for lunch and dinner...

read more
When reruns are Home Runs

When reruns are Home Runs

NECESSITY MAY be the mother of invention, but the pandemic birthed many new creative ventures – directly and indirectly. Lona Bailey’s is the indirect variety. Many of us rediscovered old television...

read more
Pittman: The Persistent Player

Pittman: The Persistent Player

THIS PRACTICE wasn’t like all the others. It was the last practice before the season opener; the official start of the season. You could feel the tension and excitement amongst the players. It was...

read more
This drum major is unstoppable!

This drum major is unstoppable!

THE AFTERNOON SUN beats down, throwing its last few heated punches before it sets for the evening. The smell of hotdogs and popcorn waft through the air luring patrons to the concession stands....

read more
The rescuing bond of love

The rescuing bond of love

THE BOND between a girl and her horse is one that cannot be broken. A horse can be broken, meaning it can undergo skillful training to become accustomed to carrying a rider. Similarly, a young...

read more
A teacher all about relationships

A teacher all about relationships

GENERALLY SPEAKING, one of the most dramatic periods of a person’s life happens during the adolescent years when the prefrontal cortex of the brain region (responsible for things like planning,...

read more
The AEDC Fellows

The AEDC Fellows

IF YOU LOOK at the major milestones in aerospace history, such as getting a man on the moon, most of the materials, rocket engines, and models were tested right here at Arnold Air Force Base (Arnold...

read more
Juneteenth

Juneteenth

“FREEDOM” enters the chatroom, and immediately it’s all, barbecued meat and who’s got the biggest bang of a firework show. While Independence Day is our nation’s designated time to pause and...

read more
Lights, camera, and Remodel

Lights, camera, and Remodel

MAYBE IT’S the pollen, but something about springtime creates an itch within us all to get busy. Whether it’s a simple task like cleaning out a cluttered closet or a more elaborate one such as...

read more
Southern Healing & Good Karma

Southern Healing & Good Karma

THE ORIGIN story of Manchester’s Southern Healing Farmacy and Good Karma Cafe is as fast as it is wild. “It was totally one of those God moments. Basically, I rode by a hemp field on a Sunday, and...

read more