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Last Ride for Lt. Coulter

By Thomas Sellers Jr.

June 13, at 7 a.m., Allen Coulter prepared to do something he had been doing for almost 35 years.
Just like all the other days, the Millington native put on his Millington Fire Department uniform with Lt. Allen Coulter Coulter retires 2Coulter Retires 4

Lt. Allen Coulter shares a laugh with his colleagues during his last shift for the Millington Fire Department.

Lt. Allen Coulter shares a laugh with his colleagues during his last shift for the Millington Fire Department.

on his shirt. He reported to 4836 Navy Road for duty to protect and serve the community he calls home along with wife Melinda and their children Addison, Ricky and Josh.
But June 13, 2013 was unique from all the other days Coulter reported to work. It was his final day as part of the Millington Fire Department. Earlier this month, Coulter made it public that he was retiring from the department.
“Things are changing,” Coulter said. “It was just time to move on.”
For years Coulter has been a mover and shaker for the MFD moving up in the ranks and being a vital part of fire prevention education for local businesses and schools in recent years.
On his final day of duty, the fire house was quiet for the most part with no calls coming in as for 3 p.m. Up until that point the events of the day included a special breakfast and lunch at Milano’s with all three stations coming to pay tribute to Coulter.
Seeing so many familiar faces and sharing stories about his tenure with the MFD, Coulter realized how much he was going to miss his colleagues.
“That’s probably the worst part about retiring,” he noted. “You almost grow up with these guys and you work with them 24 hours. You’re here two or three days a week for 24 hours. It becomes family. That’s what you’re going to miss, the guys and the people you grew up with. You laugh and you cut up, then you’re serious.
“(The lunch) was real nice,” he added. “My Battalion made it happen. It was real nice and I appreciate it.”
Battalion Derrick Hall, driver/EMT Devin Kinney, firefighter/EMT Brandon Cox and paramedic Arsenio Hardwick were on duty with Coulter on his final day.
“I just appreciate the guys I work with,” Coulter said. “Without them, they’re what Millington is all about. I appreciate the public. I appreciate the guys who work with me and what they’ve done for me. I want to thank the public because I’ve watched Millington grow from one or two fire stations, to three or four. You watch the city grow and it’s different. Things have changed and times have changed.”
Coulter has been a part of Millington his entire life. He graduated from Millington Central High School in 1976 and shortly after receiving his dipolma started his career as a firefighter.
His first day of service was June 30, 1978. And since that day, Coulter has saved lives, educated the public he loved serving and unfortunately seen his share of destruction like March 29, 2007.
“We were talking about this on the last shift about different things,” he said. “Some of the young guys will be lucky if they probably never do see some plane crashes. We’ve seen some pretty good jet crashes. Probably the one that stands out to me was the tanker truck on Highway 14 that blew up. We were the first ones on the scene.
“You roll up on it, a little car hits the tanker and it’s one fire,” Coulter added. “Just a few minutes of being there, we were rolling.”
When things are rolling at the Millington Fire Department Coulter and crew are either protecting and serving the community or just bonding among each other.
“It means a lot, if it wasn’t for these guys,” he said, “anything can happen, it’s about who you work with. It’s about watching his back and him watching my back, protecting each other and it’s a learning experience. The battalion teaches you things. And it’s just about learning different things. We have a paramedic who teaches us things. It’s a brotherhood. Without this brotherhood I don’t know if I would have survived or not.”
Surviving 35 years and building numerous friendships along the way, Coulter’s final day as part of the MFD concluded with a steak dinner and him clocking out one final time at 7 a.m. on June 14.
“The Millington Fire Department means a lot,” he concluded. “I graduated from high school and went straight to work here. Having a family and growing up with it, you live and you learn.”

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June 2013
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