Keesler Federal remembers Fireman Mark Hilley as First Responder of the Year

It’s been two months since the passing of firefighter Mark Hilley. However, in his memory, his family accepts the First Responder of the Year Award from Keesler Federal.

At the Harrison County Fire Rescue Station 3, Keesler Federal representatives, firemen, and Mark Hilley’s wife and daughter honored him as First Responder of the Year.

Words of encouragement, remembrance, and long-lasting memories were spoken about Hilley as his wife Carla accepted the award on his behalf.

Fifty-three-old Mark Hilley lost his battle with COVID-19 September 1st. He dedicated over 20 years of his life as a first responder, serving as district chief with the Gulfport Fire Department, and as battalion chief for Harrison County Fire.

Hilley’s wife, Carla, tells News 25 she hasn’t been able to put pen to paper to thank everyone for their condolences, but is so very grateful. “Gulfport Fire, Harrison County Fire, AMR, my company Alexander Van Loon, our hairdressers at Azalea’s, just friends and family, strangers that we don’t even know sent in flags and post cards. I’ve never seen such an outpouring.”

Keesler Federal awards First Responder of the Year to Mark Hilley. The award is nominated by members of the Harrison County Fire Department. “He so earned it, but so did many other people and they said he was put in for this a long time ago, so it makes me feel good accepting it on his behalf.”

The battalion chief is gone, but surely not forgotten. The memory of Mark Hilley lives on as subtle reminders are placed throughout the fire station. There are stickers in his memory with his last name Hilley posted on fire vehicles and fire hats for his dedication and commitment to serving his community. Harrison County Fire Rescue Chief Pat Sullivan said, “Went out of his way to get things done and he’s going to be missed. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about him and tell people be more like Mark. If we could all be like Mark, we’d all be better people.”

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