MINT HILL, NC – Growing up in Mint Hill, Mark Thomas always thought it would be neat to be a fireman or a police officer.
It was Thomas’ brother, though, who would join the Mint Hill Fire Department while Thomas focused on running a farm in New Salem. Little did he know that farm life would bring that dream back to him – literally. “We had the fire department come out there two or three times for one of my other brothers,” Thomas recalls. “One time he got thrown off a horse; one time he got kicked by a horse. They kept coming out, and I started asking the guys, what do I need to do to join the fire department?”
Thomas learned there was a monthly interest meeting at the local fire department. “I showed up and never looked back,” he says. Thomas started with the volunteer fire department in New Salem but quickly realized he wanted to go full time. “We sold the farm, and I moved back home,” says Thomas. He started in Mint Hill as a volunteer in 2008 and jumped on the first paid position they had available.
Today, Thomas, his wife of thirteen years and their seven-year-old son still live in Mint Hill next door to his parents. When he’s not at the fire station, he enjoys welding, sometimes fabricating small projects with his dad, who does woodworking.
For Thomas, being part of the Mint Hill Fire Department means being able to play an important role in the community in which he was born and raised. “I went to school here,” he says. “I have friends here. The bad part about it is that sometimes you run calls and you see your friends and the people you grew up with on their bad days,” he adds, “but it’s just knowing the town, seeing the change from what it looked like when we were little kids to what it is now.”