MINERAL WELLS — Newly promoted Deputy Chief Dusty Benthall said he knew he had found his home within the first week he started with the Mineral Wells Fire Department in 2008.
Growing up in Weatherford, Benthall went through the fire academy at the Mineral Wells campus of Weatherford College.
“I had a bunch of friends that worked over here and so I was pretty familiar with the area and thought it was a good fit for me,” he said. “I knew I had found my home within the first week of working here and I plan to finish out my career at this department.”
Benthall was promoted to captain in 2014, when now Fire Chief Ryan Dunn moved to the deputy chief position.
“Dusty and I were partners on shift and worked together for five or six years,” Dunn said. “What’s cool is that what I’m not very good at, he strengthens me and I think the opposite goes for him as well, so together we kind of complete the whole process.”
Officially starting his role on June 11, two goals Benthall said he will be focused on are training and continued improvements of the department.
“If there’s training out there that we can send the guys and gals to that’s going to benefit the community, then we’re going to send them. Right now our immediate goal is to get more of the troops cross-trained,” he said. “The ultimate goal as far as the department goes is to set this place up for the future so the people that are in these roles in 20 years are still working with good equipment and a good department.”
Dunn said training is where Benthall slightly outshines him.
“He works at the college, sees these cadets go through, and knows how to talk to the younger people coming in,” he said. “So it helps me out that he can do a really good job in the training aspect for the department.”
When he first arrived at the MWFD 13 years ago, Benthall said it was small, but that changed quickly and now the department has a good mix of fire and EMS personnel and better equipment.
“You learn a lot very quickly in Mineral Wells because of the call volume that we have and the types of calls that we get,” he said. We’ve done a lot just in the amount of time I’ve been here and it’s been impressive. It’s a busy department and that has its own benefits.”
He added that the crew is some of the best he’s ever worked with.
“We feel that we’re a pretty progressive department — we try to stay out in front and do what we can to let the community know we’re here,” Benthall said. “And we have a good family atmosphere. We don’t view each other as co-workers, it’s more like brother and sister relationships so everybody here is pretty tight-knit.”