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Bright Future: Teen can handle the heat

LAUREN WOOD | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Monterey volunteer firefighter Elliot Britt holds the hose steady as Concordia Fire District No. 2 firefighter James McPhate douses flames while fighting a house fire on Oct. 10.

MONTEREY — If Jeff Britt tried to light a fire under his teenage son, Elliot would just put it out and carry on.

But the elder Britt rarely has to motivate his son when it comes to helping others.

Elliot, 17, a senior at Monterey School is the youngest member of the Monterey Volunteer Fire Department; he does his part to help when the call for help comes.

LAUREN WOOD / THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Britt, 17, has been around the fire station his whole life and doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. After starting to help fight fires in the sixth grade, Elliot is currently a volunteer fire fighter with the Monterey Fire Department.

And Jeff Britt said he has strived to teach his son about the importance of serving the community.

“My dad did the same things with me,” Jeff said.

Jeff is a former sheriff for Tensas Parish, so, he said Elliot has been around public service all his life.

“I like doing this,” Elliot said. “It’s something I’ve grown up doing. My dad has taught me a lot.”

Jeff said a few of the things he wanted to teach Elliot were honesty, credibility and the importance of serving.”

“When you grow up in small places like (Monterey), everybody should do all they can,” Jeff said. “That’s something I want Elliot to learn.”

Elliot said working as a volunteer firefighter has made him thankful for the things in his life.

“When you see someone whose house has burned down or who has been a wreck, it makes you think about what you have,” Elliot said. “And I’m thankful for those things.”

Since he was in the sixth grade, Elliot said he has assisted in house and car fires and even helped with car accidents.

“It’s an adrenaline rush,” Elliot said. “My favorite part is putting out the fires. I like getting up close.”

Elliot, who also plays baseball and runs track for Monterey High School, said his friends sometimes pick on him for being a volunteer firefighter.

“Yeah they like to pick on me sometimes, but it’s OK,” Elliot said. “That is until that they realize I’m actually fighting fires.”

After graduation in May, Elliot plans to attend the University of Lafayette-Monroe.

“I want to major in either business or accounting,” Elliot said. “I want to help with my dad’s business (Britt’s Distributing) and eventually take it over.”

Elliot said he planned to continue his volunteer work with the volunteer fire department.

“I’ll stay involved, even during college and after,” Elliot said. “It’s important to me. It’s a way for me to give back and help people around here, and that’s important.”

Elliot said the lessons on honesty and serving won’t end with him. It’s something he plans on handing down to future generations.

“If I have a son, I’ll definitely want to do the same thing with him,” Elliot said.