Jacksonville Daily Progress
In many ways, Capt. Kevin McKinney is the face and voice of the Jacksonville Fire Department.
He is credited as being one of the most dedicated and and caring officers the JFD has to offer.
Praised by many for his job knowledge, enthusiasm, and insight, McKinney has been asked at least once to advise a writer about the workings of the firefighting profession.
At the City Council meeting Tuesday night, Capt. McKinney received the trademark three diamonds and "J" for Jacksonville that comes with the pin for 30 years of superlative city service.
Mayor Kenneth Melvin lauded Capt. McKinney for his job dedication and accomplishments as he handed him his pin.
JFD Fire Chief Paul White said many firefighters respect McKinney, a Cherokee County resident, for his knowledge, experience, and leadership abilities.
The captain, who is in his very early 50s, has been a firefighter most of his adult life. He started with the department around age 20 or 21, according to White and Fire Marshal Dennis Tate.
"He never hesitates or questions individual citizens or other City departments when asked for assistance – he simply responds," White said. "He is the type of person fire chiefs love to have in the position of Captain. He makes my job easier. He is the type of person you want to respond to your house when it is on fire or when you have a medical emergency."
McKinney was off duty Wednesday and could not be immediately reached to comment about his pin.
Because of his propensity to respond to emergencies, McKinney is very well-known as a representative of the JFD. As such, he's often available to recount accidents and fires to area reporters.
McKinney also is well-known for volunteering for charitable causes, including tasks such helping set up the lights in city parks for Christmas, reports show.
And he's humble, officials say. In interviews given over the years, Capt. McKinney has told reporters he loves his job and is very dedicated to it, but in a post 9-11 world doesn't necessarily consider himself a hero simply because he's a firefighter.
White said McKinney is respected by many because of his dedication.
"When we have fires of any size we call in guys who are on their days off and he is one of the first who ends up responding," the fire chief said. "The City of Jacksonville is fortunate to have individuals like Kevin who have served honorably in their Fire Department for all these years.”