Director of Safety and Security for Williamson County Schools Honored for Life of Service
Michael Fletcher Named Darrell Waltrip Automotive Hometown Hero
This press release was issued by Darrell Waltrip Automotive.
Michael Fletcher is a well known public servant in Williamson County. A decorated US Army Veteran, Michael has served as a Lieutenant with the Williamson County Sheriff’s Department, a paramedic for Williamson Medical Center EMS and currently serves as the Director of Safety and Security for Williamson County Schools.
"'Fletch' has an extremely rare combination of subject matter knowledge, wisdom and empathy,” said Jason Golden, Deputy Superintendent, Williamson County Schools. “His life experiences in the Army, with law enforcement, and as a paramedic have made him particularly well suited to serving our students as the Director of Safety for Williamson County Schools. Our faculty, staff and student body are fortunate that his life of service includes WCS."
Jamie Melton, Fire and Life Safety Educator for the Franklin Fire Department, and a colleague of Fletcher’s, shared more about his service in her DWA Hometown Hero nomination.
“Michael exemplifies how one person can turn tragedy into triumph. More than 20 years ago, Michael was serving our country as a paratrooper in the US Army 82nd Airborne Division. He was stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. On March 23, 1994, while preparing to take off on a training jump, an F-16 fighter jet crashed into a plane on the ground that many of Michael’s friends were waiting to board, instantly killing 24 soldiers instantly and injuring 130 more. Michael's natural instinct was to run and help those involved. In doing so, the flammable jet fuel he didn’t realize he’d been coated with following the impact ignited. Michael sustained third degree burns on his face, chest, back, arms, and hands. He spent more than six months in the hospital and endured more than 50 surgeries to reconstruct his skin, and painful therapy so he could use his hands and walk again. While Michael’s injuries were the result of a terrible accident he had no control over, every year thousands of children experience devastating burns while playing with or misusing fire. This is something that Michael wants to do everything in his power to prevent.”
“Michael’s entire life has been devoted to protecting and caring for others.” said Franklin Fire Chief Rocky Garzarek. “Even after facing adversity, he has continued to serve with purpose and intensity. He has made an outstanding contribution to our community in so many ways, including youth fire safety, and we are grateful for his dedication.”
In honor of Fletcher’s life of service he was recently honored as a Darrell Waltrip Automotive Hometown Hero.
"I am honored to be nominated for this award,” shared Fletcher. “I am only a small portion of the program designed to educate our youth about the dangers of fire. The entire Franklin Fire Department deserves recognition for the proactive efforts to keep the citizens of Franklin safe. I have had the privilege to work with these brave men and women for almost two decades.”
In 2014 Fletcher partnered with the Franklin Fire Department as the featured speaker in their 5th grade fire safety program. Designed to educate young people of the dangers and consequences of misusing fire, Fletcher shares his personal experience as a burn patient in a powerful and impactful way. He continued his involvement with the program in 2015 and 2016, and now speaks to 9th grade students as well. To date Fletcher has educated more than 2,000 students.
“Life experiences are hard sometimes but you learn so much from them, said Darrell Waltrip. “Having the heart and desire to share that with other people and what he’s gone through and what he’s learned, that’s what makes Michael a Hometown Hero. We appreciate the hard work he does and all of our civil servants are great heroes to us.”
As a part of Fletcher’s Darrell Waltrip Automotive Hometown Hero award, a $500 donation was made in to the memorial of Franklin Firefighter J.D. Fotopoulos. Fotopoluos was recently killed while on a mission trip with his church in Honduras.
“Michael’s life is proof of the power of the human spirit and an inspiration to us all,” said Melton. “He is truly a Hometown Hero.”
Darrell Waltrip Automotive’s Hometown Heroes is an event honoring locals making a difference in the Middle Tennessee community. To learn more or to nominate your hero visit http://www.darrellwaltrip.com/Hometown-Heroes.html