News: Citizen-soldier gives back to community
Story by Laura Lopez
CAMP BOWIE, Texas – The numerous men and women who serve their country and communities go by many names; fathers mothers, husbands, wives, brothers and sisters- and to some, heroes. The Training Center Garrison Command’s camp manager and officer-in-charge at Camp Bowie, in Brownwood, Texas, is a 19-year veteran in the Texas Army National Guard, and proud to call himself a citizen-soldier.
Lt. Col. Jamey Creek of Buffalo Gap is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the 9,000-acre site in west-central Texas, which is managed by the Texas Army National Guard. His duties include ensuring mobilization and unit-training requirements are met year round for the more than 25,000 men and women that make up the Texas Military Forces.
After events leading up to a yearlong deployment to Iraq between 2004 and 2005, Creek decided he would ‘pay it forward.’
“It kind of stemmed from a mobilization, as I was not happy with the training that was provided to us, “ said Creek. “So when I mobilized and came back home, I actually volunteered at Fort Hood for a year to help them train outgoing troops before the job [camp manager and officer-in-charge] here became available. At that time, I felt it was a continuation of giving back to the troops and [it was] my destiny.”
Those who know Creek were not surprised to hear he is a soldier and have also said his service extends beyond the uniform and into his community. He also serves as a level-one volunteer firefighter with the Buffalo Gap Volunteer Fire Department, north of Brownwood.
“Jamey is a family man, a leader in the community and a loyal friend,” said Fire Chief Dana Sowell, with the Buffalo Gap Volunteer Fire Department. “He is always ready to help those in need and often spends extra time at the station to work on equipment.”
He joined the department four years ago after learning about large fires across the state and realizing there was a need for firefighters. Creek said he did not hesitate to make the call to join the 17-member department, adding that his skills and experience from the Texas Army National Guard easily translated into his volunteer role.
“Firefighting is very similar to a tactical mission,” Creek said. “I can literally apply a five-paragraph operations order in place of a wildland fire briefing and vice-versa. Although, the leadership aspects are somewhat consistent in the training center world to that of firefighting, there is absolutely no substitute for the ‘down and dirty’ experience gained on each fire.”
As a level-one firefighter, Creek has been trained to respond to structure and brush fires, automobile wrecks, extraction and medical calls, and is required to be proficient on all equipment owned by the department. While initially concerned for his safety and their family unit, his wife of 20 years, Kimberly, says she is fully supportive of her husband’s desire to give back to others.
“There is a sacrifice that our family has to make in order for Jamey to do his job and serve on the volunteer fire department,” she said. “We understand the importance of serving others and we do our best to make this all work out.”
Receiving his Army commission in 1993, as a second lieutenant through Tarleton State University’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program, in Stephenville, Creek proudly admitted that being able to serve as a citizen-soldier and a firefighter is an incredible opportunity.
“I am absolutely honored to serve the citizens of my community and work alongside such incredible people,” he said. “I can honestly say there is no better heartfelt satisfaction than serving a person in need.”
Humble in demeanor and honored to call Brownwood and the west-central Texas region home, the term "hero" is a thought that does not normally cross his mind.
“I don't consider myself as a hometown hero at all,” he said. “I look at my contribution as ‘paying it forward’ to the time in which my friends or family may need emergency assistance.”
However, his wife disagreed.
“We are extremely proud of Jamey’s service to our country and his willingness to serve our community and think he is a hero, our hero,” said Kimberly Creek.
Creek, his wife and one daughter have lived in Buffalo Gap for 12 years.