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Covington fire fighter leaving for higher calling
Covington firefighter Clint Culpepper and Fire Chief Stoney Bowles stand in front of a fire truck in Covington, Ga. Culpepper is leaving his job as a firefighter to pursue a career as a youth pastor at First Baptist Church in Social Circle, Ga.

If you were to ask a room of firefighters why they chose their dangerous profession, the majority would give you the same answer: They were called to it.

While Covington firefighter Clint Culpepper, can’t argue with that response, he will also be the first to tell you that just as he was called to his profession, he has also been called away. As of July 23, 2015 Culpepper will no longer be employed by the City of Covington and will be the youth pastor at First Baptist Church in Social Circle.

Although sad to lose an employee the caliber of Culpepper, Covington Fire Chief Stoney Bowles understands his decision to leave.

“It has been said that when done properly, there is nothing more noble you can do with your life than be a public safety official,” Bowles said. “In my opinion, the only thing nobler is going into the ministry. Clint will be sorely missed.”

A 10-year veteran of the Covington Fire Department, Culpepper joined when he was just 19-years-old, working his way to Fire Engineer. For the past three years, when Culpepper wasn’t busy fighting fires or saving lives, he was touching young lives as the youth pastor at Harvest Baptist Church in Covington.
Culpepper started working towards his bachelor’s degree in Theology four years ago and earned the degree in May. Once Culpepper earned his degree, he knew it was time to make the change in careers.

“The decision to start the whole process and leave my current profession as a firefighter wasn’t easy,” Culpepper said. “But once I felt the calling, it wasn’t tough at all.

“I am absolutely going to miss the friendships I have built here and I am going to miss helping people as well. I remind myself that I am still helping people through the ministry though and probably in a more powerful way.”

In addition to losing someone of Culpepper’s caliber as a person, Bowles, a former youth pastor himself, will also have a difficult time replacing Culpepper’s work ethic.

“Clint is the kind of guy that just needs a schedule,” Bowles said. “If you simply give him a schedule, you don’t have to tell him anything else. The work just gets done and it is always done well.”