Billy Parker, founding member and Director of Texas Task Force 1 urban search and rescue team, was honored at a retirement reception on March 27. He retired after 35 years of service to TEEX and the state of Texas. At the reception, he received a framed certificate from TEEX Director Gary Sera, along with a framed resolution from Texas Governor Greg Abbott. Other gifts included a Chief’s helmet with a custom shield, and a diecut Maltese cross from the Fort Worth Fire Department. (In photo, Jeff Saunders, left, presents Billy Parker with a customized Fire Chief helmet.)

Parker is recognized as a driving force behind the development of TX-TF1, which grew from a small advisory board in 1996 to a statewide and national FEMA US&R team that today includes more that 670 members from organizations throughout Texas. He also played a significant role in the creation of the internationally recognized search and rescue training facility, Disaster City.

As a member and team leader on Texas Task Force 1, Parker served on many missions, including Ground Zero after 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and the Space Shuttle Columbia Recovery, as well as the Texas A&M Bonfire Collapse.

Parker has also served as a firefighter, paramedic and fire service educator. As the coordinator of the TEEX Recruit Firefighter Academy for more than a dozen years, Parker trained hundreds of Texas firefighters.

“His legacy includes the establishment of Texas Task Force 1, the development of Disaster City, numerous deployments that include the World Trade Center attacks and Hurricane Katrina, and the establishment of the new Regional Texas Task Force System,” Sera said. “As Director of Texas Task Force 1, Billy has set up one of the finest FEMA task force teams in the nation. If there is anyone who best represents the commitment, courage, skill, selflessness and honor of the emergency responder, it is Billy Parker.”

The Texas Legislature also recognized Parker on Fire Responder Legislative Day, March 25, in Austin. Read entire article.

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