/City Council honors former Montevallo firefighter
City Council in gold letters on purple backgroundGraphic by Bell Jackson

City Council honors former Montevallo firefighter

By Cady Inabinett 

The Montevallo City Council opened their Dec. 13 meeting with a proclamation honoring former Montevallo firefighter Matthew Durham.  

Durham, who passed away Nov. 18, began working with the Montevallo Fire Department in 2000 through the Montevallo Fire Explorers program—a program for high school students interested in becoming firefighters. He officially joined the department in 2002, where he worked until 2014. 

Mayor Rusty Nix highlighted Durham’s devotion to the fire department, saying his fellow firefighters called him dependable, dedicated and willing to serve others and the community. Nix went on to acknowledge and thank Durham for his, “dedication and service to Montevallo Fire Department and the people of Montevallo.” 

Montevallo resident C.P. Pierson addressed the council about the Shelby County NAACP’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day march. Pierson, vice president of the Shelby County branch of the NAACP, asked for the council’s permission for the group to hold the march in Montevallo on Jan. 17, as well as waive vendor fees in case the group decides to bring in food vendors for the event.  

The council unanimously voted to waive vendor fees later in the meeting. 

Pierson went on to ask if there is any way for the event to be added to the city’s calendar annually, saying, “We’ve had this particular march for the past 15 or 20 years or better, would love for one day, for this particular march, to be part of the city’s calendar, so that we wouldn’t have to keep coming and asking for permission. It would just be like the fire prevention parade and all that different type stuff.” 

“But,” Pierson added, “if they have to ask for permission, I’ll keep doing it until the good Lord calls me home.” 

No member of the council indicated if this would be a possibility or not. 

Pierson also addressed the council about the American Rescue Plan money the city received during the summer. He said he addressed the council shortly after those funds were issued, asking if any of that money would be distributed to city employees. Pierson says he was never given a definitive answer by the council, however. He urged the council to consider distributing some of the relief money to employees. 

The council also expressed condolences over the tornado outbreak in Kentucky, with Nix saying, “I would like to extend our thoughts and prayers out to the citizens of Kentucky that got hit by the terrible tornado.” 

Council member Kenny Dukes also spoke on the issue, saying, “I thought about it, as a city, you can’t prepare for something like that. There’s nothing workers, the council, mayor, anybody can do to prepare for that type of devastation. And, you know, I think we know more about when you hear the sirens and you hear the alarms, you know, respond and make sure you get in your safe place because that is very, very scary.” 

Council member David King brought up Shelby County EMA’s Everbridge program, which allows registered users to receive alerts about severe weather through phone calls, text messages, email and the Everbridge app. King suggested the city post about the program on their social media accounts leading into the spring tornado season to encourage Montevallo residents to sign up. 

City clerk Steve Gilbert recommend the city use the newly implemented TextMyGov service to send information about the Everbridge program and encourage residents to register. 

The next City Council meeting will be held Tuesday, Dec. 28, at 6 p.m. instead of its usual Monday date due to City Hall being closed for Christmas. City Hall will be closed on Dec. 24 and 27 for the holiday, as well as Dec. 31 for New Year’s Eve. 

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Cady Inabinett is the editor in chief of The Alabamian. She’s majoring in English and double-minoring in political science and peace and justice studies. She enjoys reading, watching movies, caring for houseplants and generally just being pretentious in her free time.