Mid-South volunteer fire department offers free housing and college tuition

LOVE, Miss. -- A Mid-South volunteer fire department is offering college tuition and a place to live if you join their force.

The community of Love, which is just south of Hernando, relies on its volunteer department, and this new outreach program guarantees they are staffed 24/7.

"It definitely makes you grow up," said Cade Thornton, who is currently in the program.

Essentially the department selects a few people and pays for their college tuition and books and even offers free housing.

"In return, they run 24-hour shift," said Chief Shawn Witt. "We are trying this program to give back to the community by providing volunteers."

Part of the funding comes from the county. The other half comes from donations.

There are three men and one woman in the program right now.

Witt says there are four spots open. Just not a lot of applicants.

"Not as promising as expected," he said.

What is promising: the results.

Lt. Charlie Barnette told WREG he and other staff supervise every call made.

"They’ve grown up a lot. Their learning how to live on their own. They’re doing good things for the community," he said.

One goal of the program is to recruit and retain firefighters at a time volunteer departments across the county are struggling to find volunteers.

Thornton says he plans to keep with it even after he graduates with a criminal justice degree.

"It's been a great experience for me," he said.

Witt said hopes to fill the vacant spots by June 1.

You have to have a high school degree and live in the state of Mississippi.

If you’d like to apply: https://lovefiredepartment.wordpress.com/outreach-program/