Salas named Devine VFD Firefighter of the Month

Henry Salas

As Devine Fire Chief Greg Atkinson often points out, you don’t have to run into burning buildings to fight fires. You can help fight fires by freeing up the people who do run into burning buildings. A prime example of that is Henry Salas, this month’s Devine Volunteer Fire and Rescue Firefighter of the month, Henry Salas.
Salas attended Luther Burbank High School in San Antonio, Texas graduating in 1966. He immediately volunteered to serve his Country and went to Vietnam 67-68, serving with “Shock Force” a Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol Unit in the 101st Screaming Eagles Airborne Division. He has a master’s degree in education from the University of Texas San Antonio. He was the Chief Executive Officer for Community Health Centers of South Central Texas a community health center serving 20,000 people who were uninsured or underinsured providing primary medical, dental and behavioral health services in a five county area. No one was turned away for their inability to pay. After 11 years of this dedicated service, he retired in 2018 to his home in the Great Oaks Subdivision.
He is married to Lori his beautiful wife who possessed the great insight to move out to the country. He has two children, Jerry and Jackie, and 11 grandchildren. His home is actually a hobby farm having cows, chickens, cats, donkeys, an EMU “Amos” and a horse “Paint” that he has never rode. He likes to garden and grow fruit trees.
Henry’s other hobby is writing grants. While writing a grant one day, he happened to be getting maintenance on his air-conditioning system. Daniel and Austin Ehlinger (both Devine firefighters) who were doing the work asked Henry about grant writing and invited him to talk to the chief at the Devine Volunteer Fire Department.
Henry said “I have always tried to make a difference in the communities I have been called to serve, but those were always in other counties, but I had never done so in my own community. It was time to make a difference here.”
After meeting Chief Greg Atkinson and the volunteer firefighters, Henry saw a chance to make a difference in his community. He figured the physical toll may be too much to be a firefighter, but realized he could support them through his grant writing skills, and help obtain equipment to ensure their safety while fighting fires.
Henry said “I knew I could get them some of the equipment they needed when responding to emergencies, thus protecting the community.”
Since joining the Devine Volunteer Fire Department Henry’s grant writing skills have blessed the team with over $60,000 in new training and EMS equipment, including the new Lucas chest compression machine for heart attack patients.
Chief Atkinson said “Everything Henry has gotten us was, and is, much needed for the Departments’ success, in furthering our mission of helping the community! Henry is a shining example of bringing what talents you have already, to help us build a better department.”
“Henry is a humble, soft spoken veteran who has made a huge impact on this department in a little time, and has changed the way we look at grants as a whole,” Chief Atkinson added.
A humble servant, Henry said, “I am just grateful for the privilege of serving with men and women who are dedicated to their core, to protecting the community of the City of Devine and surrounding areas.”
Henry you are a shining light in this world from your military service to your service with Devine Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department. We thank you for your continued commitment to others, and that is why you are this month’s Devine Volunteer Fire and Rescue Firefighter of the month!