November Firefighter of the Month – Willie F. Bailey, Sr.
This month, join us in celebrating our firefighter of the month…Willie Bailey, Sr., Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department! Willie is a man of many talents. He is a captain with Fairfax County Professional Firefighters & Paramedics, served as an Alexandria City councilman, is the Battalion Chief of Public Affairs and Community Outreach with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, and is a 21-year Army Veteran.
Willie spent the first five years of his life living with his grandmother in a low-income rural community in southern Virginia. Growing up, his only playmates were the trees, chickens, possums, and raccoons. During a bus ride he took with his grandmother to visit his parents, he would see children playing on playground equipment and wanted join them as well. When he eventually moved in with his parents, he acquired the gift of giving back.
With the guidance of his humble beginnings and lessons learned from his parents, Willie grew a passion for uniting people together to help those less fortunate. His passion moved him to found Firefighters and Friends to the Rescue, a nonprofit organization that serves low income children in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area. He also serves on the board of directors for Operation Warm’s Coats for Kids and Senior Services.
Every year, Willie works with Operation Warm to distribute 4,000 new coats to children in Alexandria and throughout northern Virginia. He says, “If a child doesn’t have a warm coat to wait at the bus stop, there is a chance that child will not attend school. There is also a good chance they are on free or reduced lunch, which means they will miss two important meals that day. The body has to be nourished before the child can sit in class to feed the brain.”
Willie’s selfless actions have made him an admirable and respected figure in and out of Alexandria City. Laura Cowan, Operation Warm’s Associate Director of Community Programs, says, “It’s hard not to smile when you are around Willie. He is one of the most positive people I know and he pours his heart and soul into everything he does – including putting coats on kids! We are so grateful for his friendship and his commitment to bettering his community every day.”
For his kindness towards others, he has been given numerous awards for his actions including Leadership Fairfax, Kate Hanley Community Service Award, City of Alexandria Living Legend Award, Heroism and Community Service Award, Northern Virginia NAACP Community Service Award, and more!
Thank you, Willie, for bringing warmth, confidence, and hope to your community!
Join hundreds of fire departments across the country to give brand new coats to children in the communities you protect.