MULLINS, S.C. — City of Mullins Fire Department held a surprise dedication ceremony for one of their own last week. Capt. Robert Woodberry was honored for 30 years of service as fire fighters unveiled the training room is named in his honor at the fire substation on the Mullins High School campus.
Capt. Shawn Lee said he tried more than a week to keep the secret.
“The building has been here since we got the station and we got grant from the Marion County Healthcare Foundation to turn it into a classroom type of environment for training,” Lee said. “That’s the first phase and the second phase will include work on our actual training grounds on Academy St.”
Lee said just about everyone at the station has learned something from Capt. Woodberry.
“Capt. Robert Woodberry has been with this department forever it seems like and he is like the cornerstone of this department,” Lee said. “We decided to dedicate this classroom in his honor.”
Lee called Capt. Woodberry a hero.
“He means a lot to us and helped me throughout my career,” he said.
Capt. Woodberry was greeted with hugs from fellow fire fighters and joined by family as he walked inside the new revamped facility.
Mullins Fire Chief Robert Stetson said the dedication at Mullins Fire Station No. 35 was more of a homecoming celebration.
“We want to celebrate youth in the fire service and pay respect to our elders because the elders bring wisdom,” Stetson said. “We wanted to pay respects to someone that is much needed.”
Engineer Reggie Washington said the project was something they wanted to do.
“He’s been here more than 30 years and we just thought it would be a nice thing to do dedicating it to him,” Washington said. “He is still working part-time and never giving up. He’s mentored a lot of people and has been an inspiration to me when I first started in the fire service at Marion Fire Department and now I’m here at Mullins with him.”
The site is the city’s first fire substation, which was a maintenance building utilized by the S.C. National Guard. Officials opened a new fire station on Old State Road in Mullins in 2018, funded through the one-cent capital sales tax.