Executive Director Terry Wages retires from Fire Service after 32 years

Published 11:10 am Wednesday, June 21, 2023

After 32 years in the Fire Service, Mississippi State Fire Academy (MSFA) Executive Director Terry Wages is retiring.

Terry Michael Wages, from Tupelo, has resided in Terry for the past seven years with his wife, Laura. Wages has served in the public safety sector for 32 years, having been employed with the city of Tupelo Fire Department the first 15 of those years, followed by Pontotoc County as fire coordinator for four years prior to moving to Brandon as chief. Wages has served as MSFA executive director for the past four years.

Wages has an extensive background in emergency management, emergency medical services, leadership and mitigation, with considerable training in technical rescue operations, including hazardous materials, rope rescue, confined space rescue, trench rescue and dive rescue operations.

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He has more than 1,000 hours of technical and fire rescue training from the MSFA in Pearl. Wages is also a graduate of the North Mississippi Law Enforcement Training Center, obtaining his part-time law enforcement certification.

In addition, Wages successfully completed his associate of applied science degree in fire science from Meridian Community College, graduating with highest honors. He 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.

Wages was awarded Mississippi Burn Foundation Fire Chief of the Year Award in 2012 with distinguished recognition from the governor of Mississippi, Phil Bryant. Wages is a member in good standing with the Mississippi Fire Chiefs Association, serving as both vice president at large and president 2014-2019.

Wages is also a member with the International Fire Chiefs Association and the Mississippi Fire Fighters Association. He also serves on the Hinds Community College EMS Advisory Committee.

Wages’ goal upon joining the MSFA was adding the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Bureau to the Academy. With this bureau, MSFA can afford Mississippi firefighters the opportunity to achieve EMS training and certifications at a fraction of the cost through other educational outlets.

Wages was also part of a committee that appeared before the Mississippi Legislature on behalf of the Length of Service Assistance Program (LOSAP), which was passed in 2023 allowing volunteer firefighters’ compensation for the time and service upon retirement.

Wages can confidently retire knowing his legacy shines bright through his leadership, training, and political efforts to all within the Fire Service.