Director of Mississippi State Fire Academy announces retirement

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Mississippi State Fire Academy (MSFA) executive director Terry Wages has announced plans to retire after 32 years in the fire service.

The Tupelo native — who has resided in Terry for the past seven years — was employed with his hometown’s fire department for the first 15 years of his time in the public sector.

In the following years, Wages held the position of fire coordinator in Pontotoc County for four years before moving to Brandon as chief. Since then, Wages has served as MSFA executive director for the last four years.

During his time as executive director, Wages added the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Bureau to the academy, allowing the organization to achieve EMS training and certifications at a lower cost through other educational outlets.

Wages was also on the committee that advocated for the passing of House Bill 521 — or the Length of Service Assistance Program (LOSAP) — during the 2023 legislative session, allowing volunteer firefighters to be compensated for time and service upon retirement.

He has over 1,000 hours of technical and fire rescue training from the MSFA and has completed his Associate of Applied Science degree in Fire Science from Meridian Community College.

Wages also holds an Associate of Applied Science degree in Paramedicine from Holmes Community College, a Bachelor of Applied Science, Emergency Management, and a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership from Waldorf College in Forest City, Iowa.

Over the past three decades, Wages has received numerous awards for his service, including being named the recipient of the Mississippi Burn Foundation Fire Chief of the Year Award in 2012.

The former director is a member in good standing with the Mississippi Fire Chiefs Association, serving as both vice president at large and president from 2014 to 2019.

At this time, Wages is a member of the International Fire Chiefs Association and the Mississippi Fire Fighters Association and serves on the Hinds Community College EMS Advisory Committee.

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