Piedmont Newnan announces next First Friday Hero – Denise Burks


From Special Reports

This month Piedmont Newnan’s First Friday Hero program honors Newnan Fire Department Battalion Chief Denise Burks for going above and beyond the call of duty.

Chief Burks demonstrates an extraordinary commitment to the Newnan Fire Department as well as those in need by taking it upon herself to provide exceptional support, service and leadership to the Newnan Fire Department and our local community.

As a well-respected leader in the department, she discerns quickly of the department’s needs and moves efficiently to provide key information, recommendations or direction. She has been instrumental in helping the department in lowering its Insurance Service Office (ISO) rating to a 1 (ISO rates from 1-10 with 1 being the best), indicating that the City of Newnan is one of the best protected communities by their fire department.

She is also a great supporter of her team at the Newnan Fire Department. When a fellow team member of Chief Burks lost his grandmother, she showed up personally with a goody bag full of comfort snacks. Her calming presence during that family’s crisis was much needed during that time and much appreciated. Her teammates consistently say that “She truly knows what it takes to be a dedicated leader and support for the guys on the team.”

She’s been fondly known as the ‘go-to’ for most things at the department because of her experience and history in public service. Anything that she feels will better the department; she puts her heart into it.

Over her 32-year career, she has set the path of being a trailblazer and well-respected leader. She made history becoming the city’s first female Firefighter, Lieutenant, Captain and now Battalion Chief in the City of Newnan and Coweta County.

Outside the department, Battalion Chief Burks’ community service efforts are unique and far-reaching. Over the course of her career, she has served as a volunteer to teach CPR to several citizens throughout the community. When Hurricane Michael struck the Florida Panhandle and those living in southwestern Georgia in 2018, Chief Burks led with a public servants heart and was instrumental in helping those in need miles away. Chief Burks along with fellow firefighters Chris Calhoun and Brad Haralson all teamed together to set up a makeshift incident command center inside a damaged condominium complex to help prepare food and support for those in need.

They also helped to provide items such as water, bug spray and even emergency housing to those who were in need.

Battalion Chief Burks is always willing to pitch in for the good of community and others regardless of the mission.
Through many changes in leadership, Chief Burks has made a difference at the Newnan Fire Department, exemplified the mission of the department, and has positively impacted so many within our community and region.

Piedmont Newnan is honored to present Chief Burks with Piedmont Newnan’s First Friday Hero award for her skills, knowledge, willingness to help others, and dedication to the Newnan Fire Department and community.

Piedmont Newnan Hospital created the First Friday Hero program in April 2019, which is designed to recognize first responders on a monthly basis who have gone above and beyond the call of duty. Their line of work is often a thankless job and we want to make the community aware of our local heroes and all they do to make Coweta County and our surrounding communities a better and safer place.

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