Posing for a photo, Dennis Mitchell crouched beside a freshly painted fire hydrant along Leeman Ferry Road.
A longtime Green Team volunteer, Mitchell has painted more than 350 hydrants across South Huntsville. The yellow and green paint is bold, designed to be spotted by first responders during an emergency.
“It’s just something I feel led to do,” Mitchell said. “All it took to make a difference in my community was asking for a few gallons of paint and getting to work.”
At a District 3 Town Hall hosted by Council Member Jennie Robinson, Mitchell was publicly lauded for his efforts.
“Dennis is evidence that everyone can serve in their own unique way,” Robinson said. “His service not only makes our communities look cleaner but it increases public safety by making the fire hydrants more visible.”
Green Team Coordinator David Worley called Mitchell an “all-star.” After Mitchell asked for paint, Worley explained it didn’t take much to make the hydrants visible to firefighters.
“The next week, all the hydrants in John Hunt Park were painted,” Worley said.
Mitchell’s volunteerism grew beyond his neighborhood in South Huntsville.
“He decided to expand his territory to freshen up all the hydrants around Huntsville’s growing greenspace,” Worley added. “Ever since, he’s painted a hydrant whenever he sees the need for it.”
Keep it colorful
Most people recognize fire hydrants by their rustic red color, but the top of a hydrant – or bonnet – indicates a hydrant’s water flow capability.
Red bonnets have an output of up to 499 gallons per minute (gpm), while orange bonnets have a flow of 500-999 gpm and blue bonnets more than 1,500 gpm. Green bonnets can produce 1,000 to 1,499 gpm, while a black bonnet indicates an inactive hydrant.
“Volunteers like Mr. Mitchell make our jobs much easier and safer,” said Huntsville Fire & Rescue Capt. Cory Green. “Giving time to the City shows a real commitment to the safety and security of the community.”