MPW.71 / 2019 A Lifetime of Community Service by Jeff Dean
Photographer
Jeff Dean Villa Rica, Ga.
Team Lee

Story Summary

When he was seven, James Hurt chased ambulances and firetrucks around town on his customized bike he called ‘Fire Cat.’ Hurt, a first responder for 56 years, has lived tied to pagers, scanners and radios For the last 36 years, Hurt has worked as a firefighter, EMT and police officer. He became the only African-American coroner in the state of Missouri when he was elected in 2016.

“I want to give back to a community that has given me so much,” Hurt says. “If I wake up every day and help one person, I’m good with that. If I don’t, there’s something wrong.”