Brays recognized for their commitment to Red Boiling Springs
Craig Harris/Macon County Times Wednesday, October 30, 2019 10:14 PM
Tammy and Randall Bray received the Vision 2020 volunteers of the year awards.
Numbers mean more to Tammy Bray than others. When she hears the four-digit sequence of 1010, it brings her immense comfort. It means that her husband, Randall, and the rest of the Red Boiling Springs volunteer firemen have arrived safely back to the fire hall and are ready to take another call if necessary.
“It’s worry for him and for Bradley (Bray, her son who is also a volunteer firefighter),” Tammy Bray said. “I’m always thankful when I hear them back into the fire hall. Then, I’m good. I know they’re back safe and sound.”
Tammy and Randall Bray heard another pleasing thing announced on the evening of Oct. 22. It left the couple surprised as they were announced as the Vision 2020 volunteers of the year.
“First of all, they don’t have to be a member of Vision 2020 to qualify,” Vision 2020 Executive Director Rita Watson said. “It’s obvious that they give of their time and their energy to help the town. Randall is the chief of the volunteer fire department. Right there, you know they have a heart for the town and are willing to give their heart and energy. It’s just obvious.
“That’s the criteria … that they are volunteers at heart.”
Vision 2020 is a Red Boiling Springs, nonprofit, community support organization with a mission of stimulating interest and awareness of the town’s history, to encourage appreciation of the attributes of the community, to promote preservation of historic resources, and to create an environment that will improve the quality of life.
It’s the seventh year that Vision 2020 has given a volunteer of the year award.
“It’s a big deal for us,” Watson said. “It’s like picking out the (grand) marshal for the Christmas parade. We want to pick people who love our community.”
Randall Bray is a life-long resident of Red Boiling Springs.
“I just love it,” the 51-year-old said of his involvement. “I love taking care of the community. It’s the people. I want to help save people’s lives or homes … whatever I can do.”
Randall Bray joined the Red Boiling Springs volunteer fire department in 2011. “How we got started was through our son Bradley,” Tammy Bray said. “He joined first (in 2010).”
Randall and Tammy Bray — who were married in 1987 — helped the volunteer fire department in working at a haunted house that it was operating in 2011, and Randall Bray attended his first meeting of the volunteer fire department the next month.
He became the fire chief in 2015.
“I’m in it for the community,” Randall Bray said. “It’s come a long way. It’s taken all of us. They have stayed with us. We brought some young (firefighters) aboard. We’ve done more training. “The city and county has given more funding. It’s helped us get more up-to-date training.”
Tammy Bray is active behind the scenes. “She helps with the paperwork,” Randall Bray said. “When we do soup and chili, she helps with that. She gets the guys something at Christmas time.”
She’s also instrumental in helping with the fire department’s fundraisers — including a car show, duck days, and a benefit, motorcycle ride. Those are three of the major events that help the organization raise between $6,000 and $10,000 each year.
“We do everything we can to help raise money,” Tammy Bray said.
However, her favorite involvement pertains to some of the training.
“My favorite thing about the fire department is whenever I get to go and participate in the training sessions,” Tammy Bray said. “I get to be that dummy in the car. I get to be the victim. Two years ago, it was my favorite. I got to be the woman trapped in the car.
“We try to prepare them for stuff.”
When Randall Bray took over as the fire chief, there were approximately 18 firemen. Now, the department has 28.
The fire department has responded to 52 fire and rescue-related calls this year.
In years past, that total has been as much as 118.
Tammy Bray was actually born in Lafayette and grew up in Hermitage Springs. However, the 50-year-old’s allegiance now lies in Red Boiling Springs.
“I love it,” Tammy Bray said. “I wouldn’t live anywhere else. I’m a country girl.”