City swears in 5 fire engineers, OKs Nesmith Park grant application


Cullman Fire Rescue’s five new fire engineers, (hands raised, left to right) are Brandon Dawson, Wade Miller, Kelsey Taylor, Matt Wade and Jonathan Wilson. (Christy Perry for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN – Five Cullman City firefighters on Monday night were sworn in to their new promotional positions as fire engineers. Brandon Dawson, Wade Miller, Kelsey Taylor, Matt Wade and Jonathan Wilson received their badges at the Cullman City Council meeting.

Cullman Fire Rescue Chief Brian Bradberry spoke prior to the swearing in, saying, “We are very blessed to a part of a city that is growing and booming. We are blessed to have progressive leadership. These guys work hard for these promotions. We brought outside evaluators in on their testing. Anybody that knows anything about fire service knows that the fire engineer position is one of the most important positions in the fire department. These guys can be fighting fire on any given day. They could be driving the truck, operating the equipment or they could be commanding the scene.”

Dawson’s wife Samantha Dawson proudly pinned the new badge on his uniform. Bradberry presented Miller and Taylor with their badges. Wade’s wife Anna Wade pinned her husband’s uniform. Finally, Wilson’s father Don Wilson, a retired fire engineer from the Homewood Fire Department, helped his son with his badge. 

Nathan Anderson, executive director of Cullman Parks, Recreation & Sports Tourism, announced that the Cullman Wellness & Aquatic Center is on schedule for the planned debut of its 24-hours per day, seven-days per week fitness option, which will begin Jan. 1.

Anderson also updated the council on the Nesmith Park Renovation Project, saying “Our grant application is going through for submission on Friday. We are really excited about it. After speaking with the schools, members of the community and the housing authority, we feel really good that this project is going to check a lot of boxes as far as needs that we have in that area and our community.”

Councilman Clint Hollingsworth added, “A lot of folks sharing ideas and thoughts, it will be great when it’s all done.”

The council then approved the resolution to apply for the federal government’s Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) matching grant program and commit the local matching funds for the project. 

The renovation project will bring many new features to Nesmith Park including: 

  • a regulation baseball field approximating the dimensions of Cullman High School's field
  • a splash pad, to replace the park’s pool that closed several years ago
  • open play spaces with upgraded playground equipment
  • a half-mile walking loop around the complex
  • a multi-use football/soccer field
  • a youth baseball/softball field
  • four square courts 
  • three pickleball courts
  • a basketball court

See more about the Nesmith Project at

The council also approved a resolution authorizing the mayor to enter into a professional services contract for fleet management. 

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