When former Monticello Fire Capt. Bonita Yount began her career in 1988, she was the second female firefighter in the city’s history. She would later ascend the ranks to become the city’s first and only female fire captain and ultimately the second woman inducted into the Arkansas Firefighters Hall of Fame.
Last weekend, Yount was honored for her outstanding service, achievements and contributions to the firefighting profession when the Arkansas Firefighters Association inducted her into the Arkansas Firefighters Hall of Fame during the association’s annual convention in Hot Springs.
“Bonita has devoted most of her adult life serving our community and the state,” said former Monticello Fire Chief Raymond Chisom, who nominated Yount for the honor.
Yount, who began her public service career as an EMT, began her firefighting career in 1988 when then Monticello Fire Chief Jack Carson hired her as a firefighter and driver. Ten years later, she was captain of the department, a position she held until her retirement in 2009.
Yount’s EMT training was a tremendous asset to the Monticello Fire Department, particularly when the department created its rescue unit. “Bonita, being an EMT, was usually the one that crawled into the vehicle to stabilize and comfort the victim while others extricated them from the vehicle,” Chisom said.
Yount also served as the department’s secretary/treasurer, which she did along with her other duties, and worked many years with children in the Drew County schools and daycare centers with the Fire Pup program. She also worked several years with the Children Smoke House program, training children on how to get out of their homes in the event of a fire, according to Chisom.
Her contributions to the community did not go unnoticed by the Monticello Lions Club which named her Firefighter of the Year in 1996.
In January 2001, Yount became the secretary and treasurer of the Southeast Arkansas Firefighter District Association and continues to serve in that position today.
During her 20-plus years with the Monticello Fire Department, Yount completed all the seals on the Fire Academy Certificate along with many other training certifications. She was also a state and national certified EMT.