Jim Seaton had a lot of faith in his former assistant fire marshal and told everyone who would listen that he hoped Jay Brooks would fill his boots when the time came.
Brooks fulfilled Seaton’s wishes Tuesday when he accepted an offer from the Smith County Commissioners Court to be the next county fire marshal.
Brooks said he told Seaton’s widow in April after Seaton’s death that he would try his best to land the job.
“Jim had more faith in me than I did in myself, and he encouraged me,” he said. “After he passed I thought about it and decided to go for it, and I did.”
Seaton served as the county fire marshal from 1999 until his death on April 3 following a lengthy battle with cancer.
Brooks, 38, a Lindale police officer and former assistant fire marshal for the county, was offered and has accepted the job the Smith County commissioners announced Tuesday.
Brooks said he believes he will be appointed to the office on June 10 to fill the remainder of Seaton’s term, which expires in December.
Mary Thompson, an administrative assistant and office right hand in the Smith County Fire Marshal’s Office, said the entire staff was happy about the decision.
“This was Jim’s wish, and we know he is rejoicing in heaven over all of this,” she said. “We know this is a good thing.”
Brooks has 13 years of firefighting experience and six years as an investigator. He is licensed both on the state and federal levels and is a certified investigator in the areas of fire, arson, explosion and vehicle fire.
Brooks said he is excited to work with the current team, which worked for years under Seaton and includes assistant fire marshals Oren Hale, Connie McCoy-Wasson, Kevin Londoff, Mrs Thompson and Samantha Hall.
“This is a great team to have, and I couldn’t fathom what this job would be like without them,” he said. “I need them and their years of experience.”