NC Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Mike Causey visits several communities, public schools, and fire stations across Johnston County last week to coincide with National Fire Prevention Week.
Causey stopped by the Benson Fire Department for lunch last Thursday enjoying a meal prepared by firefighters including chicken, pork chops, hotdogs, green beans and potatoes for Commissioner Causey and his team.
His visit throughout Johnston County also included a stop at the Smithfield Fire Department and Princeton Elementary School to talk about fire safety.
“Thank you all for having us and it’s a pleasure to be here. I don’t know (Benson Fire Chief Alan Johnson), but I’ve known his daddy for a long time — so I know a little bit about him,” said Commissioner Causey in the Benson Fire Department’s dining hall before lunch.
Several Benson firefighters were present as well as town administration and elected officials including State House Rep. Larry Strickland.
“We have a lot of great folks here… After Hurricane Matthew, our cooperation with the county and the state was the best I’ve ever seen,” said Benson Town Manager Matt Zapp, addressing the room.
“We were fortunate enough that the Golden LEAF grant paid for the fire truck that we lost in Hurricane Matthew — as well as two other major projects in Benson,” he continued. “So, as we break bread together today, we have so much to be thankful for.”
Following the meal, Commissioner Causey spoke briefly about the importance of keeping local officials informed on the needs of the fire department, especially outfits that are predominately volunteer, like Benson.
“We’re working hard to get more grant money to fire departments — particularly volunteer fire departments,” he explained. “We’re doing everything we can to make the Department of Insurance more user-friendly and to make the office of State Fire Marshal more user-friendly. If there is anything we can do to help you just let us know.”
Chief Johnson thanked those in attendance and Commissioner Causey for visiting Benson. “It’s an honor for me to serve you as the State Fire Marshal and I like coming to Johnston County, so I’ll come back as often as I can,” Commissioner Causey said to the room. “I still live on the same farm where I grew up, so I relate to this part of the world. Thank you all for being here and thank you so much for having me.”
“We’re always glad to host our state officials,” said Chief Johnson. “It was a pleasure to have Commissioner Causey visit us and we look forward to him visiting in the future.”