Pictured are Mayor Doyle, Retired Captain Clifton Jones, and Chief Gerald Grimm
by Chief Gerald Grimm
The dedication and unveiling ceremony for the "Protector" was conducted Saturday, January 15 by Mayor Doyle and Chief Grimm at Central Fire Station. Over 200 attended the ceremony and barbecue luncheon on a summer like January day. This life size tribute to all Texas City Firefighters was sculpted in bronze by area artist Janie LaCroix in the image of Captain Clifton Jones, Retired. The festivities which were held in conjuction with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend, accentuated the progress of our community and our fire department in embracing equal opportunity and diversity. Captain Jones became a "trail blazer" breaking virgin ground in 1965 when he became the first black member of the Texas City Fire Department. Cliff recalls the first few months of his career when he was selected to attend the fire school at Texas A&M in College Station. The Fire Chief reportedly contacted university officials to ensure that a black Firefighter would be welcomed on campus and allowed to participate with white Firefighters. Well, the rest is history. Not only did Capt. Jones attend Texas A&M to fulfill the educational requirements of fire and science technology, he went on to become the first black supervisor in the Texas City Fire Department and possibly the entire City workforce. With his wife, two sons, and daughter looking on along with his parents and other relatives and friends, Cliff recounted his career with the Texas City Fire Department with pride and humor during this special moment for he and his family.
This handsome sculpter stands proudly in recognition of all Firefighters, regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, or gender, as a reminder of thier unwavering commitment to the public they so proudly serve. Each Texas City Firefighter has a special sense of ownership and attachment to the statue. As Captain David Zacherl, President, International Association of Firefighters, Local 1259, said during the unveiling, "It was absolutely an honor and a privilege for us to participate in the funding and co-sponsorship of this artwork. The statue is truly representative of the dedication, spirit, and comaradarie in Captain Jones and the Fire Service."
Captain Clifton Jones
February 1939 - October 2006