Editor’s note: This is the third in a weekly series on volunteer firefighters in Roosevelt County.
By Eric Norwood Jr.
PNT Staff Writer
Kellie Bilbrey of Milnesand wears many hats, including that of a volunteer firefighter.
As a mother, wife, EMS director at Milnesand Fire Department and a second-grade teacher at Dora Elementary, Kellie Bilbrey is almost always busy.
She has been serving as a volunteer fireman on MFD since 2008. Her husband, Russell, has been a volunteer fireman since 2006.
“We take care of each other,” Bilbrey says.
In addition to her husband, Bilbrey’s three children, Ameila, Ethan and Logan, are all volunteer firemen as well. According to Logan Bilbrey, 19, they joined before their mother did, but after only a few months it was obvious her help was needed.
“It’s so necessary for our community to come together because it’s so small,” says Amelia Bilbrey.
According to Russell Bilbrey, it can be nerve-racking at times when all the children and Kellie are spread out fighting a bigger fire and he doesn’t know where everyone is, but he never worries too much.
“Kellie will get on the radio and call all of us to make sure we’re safe,” he says. “But that’s her just being the mother hen and she does it for most everybody in our department.”
Kellie Bilbrey is from Sterling, Colo. She moved to Plainview, Texas, to attend Wayland Baptist University and met Russell at a church revival in Bledsoe, Texas. After four years of driving back and forth to see each other, they wed in 1987 and began working as farmers and ranchers in Texas and New Mexico.
In 1995 they settled in Milnesand, and in 1999 she began teaching second grade at Dora Elementary School.
“I love them,” said Kellie Bilbrey of her students. “They still respect you and they tell you, ‘I love you,’ everyday.”
On some occasions, her volunteer duties require her to leave the classroom. Kellie Bilbrey says that the students are always anxious to hear the story when she returns.
“They want to know what was it like, what did I do,” she says.
Including her duties as a teacher, Kellie Bilbrey serves as an impromptu nurse because Dora Elementary’s nurse only works once a week.
“If anybody needs anything they’ll come hunt me up and I’ll pass out Band-Aids and take temperatures,” she says. “If I can help them I do my very best to help and if not I’ll find someone who can.”
The Bilbrey family as a whole is dedicated to serving the community of Roosevelt County.
“We feel obliged to help people out when they need it,” says Russell Bilbrey. “When we hear that radio, we drop what we’re doing and go help somebody else out.”