By Tammy Moore Teague
Selfless giving of oneself and time is such a rare quality in today’s fast paced world. But for one local man, it is something he learned to do, and learned it at an early age in life. Richard Hartsfield, 46, has spent most of his life volunteering, serving and aiding his country and community.
Hartsfield was born May 21, 1972 in Fort Smith, Arkansas to Richard C. and Betty Hartsfield. The family, including his four brothers and sisters, moved to Bonanza when he was 12 years old. At this age he was witnessing first hand the value volunteerism. “My grandmother was a city alderman for years for Bonanza and I had a couple of uncles on the fire department,” said Hartsfield. “I learned at a young age about volunteering.” By the time Hartsfield turned 14 he was entertaining his drumming talent and playing in a band with his father. Together they performed at many events benefiting others in the community. Then, in 1988, he joined the Bonanza Fire Department as a junior fire fighter and worked his way up the ranks.
He is a Hackett alumnus, having attended the school from Kindergarten to graduation in 1991. Following graduation Hartsfield joined the Navy as a jet engine mechanic. Stationed at NAS Agana from November 1992 until September 1994 and NAS Whidbey Island Washington until April 1996, he was once again finding himself in a life of service. Hartsfield spent time in Bahrain, Sadia Arabia, Okinawa and Misawa Japan.
After enlistment, he moved back home to Bonanza and returned to the fire department. In 1998 Hartsfield moved from Bonanza to Hartford. It was at this time he married his wife of 20 years, Teresa Orr Hartsfield. Meanwhile, he had found employment at Baldor. It was through this company Hartsfield found another way to serve. “I worked there 13 years, he explained. “In 2004 I took a responder class through Baldor and started responding for the county and Hartford fire.” This sparked further interest for him and he sought ways to continue his education. In 2005 he began pursing his EMT (emergency management technician) through Sebastian County EMS (emergency medical services). He then enrolled in the paramedic program at Kiamichi Tech and graduated in July of 2008. “I started working part time EMT for SCEMS and Fort Smith EMS in 2006 and then in 2008 as a paramedic.” Since that time he has continued to serve the citizens of Sebastian County.
Additionally, Hartsfield has continued his work within the fire department. He held the position of assistant chief and was eventually promoted to chief at Hartford. “Being the chief at Hartford is not really that hard because I have a firehouse full of knowledgeable, hard working, eager to learn men and women. When you have fire fighters like that it makes the chief look awful good.” Hartsfield is certified as a fire fighter instructor I through the Arkansas Fire Academy and a holds a BLS/CPR instructor certification through Mercy Hospital. “I just love helping people. The Hartford Fire Department and SCEMS are like my family.” With that family Hartsfield has gained a valued paramedic partner, Dennis Hulsey. “We have been partners for over seven years,” Hartsfield explained. “He is also my supervisor and training officer so I feel I have an advantage when it comes to training.”
Besides his work family, Hartsfield and his wife have two children, a son, Lindsey Fox and a daughter, Rachel Hartsfield. Additionally, he has two grandchildren, Hannah Fox, 12, and six month old Evelynn. His family has influenced his decisions throughout his life and taught him give back. Certainly he himself is setting a great example for future generations.