Volunteers want to clean up image

The West Odessa Volunteer Fire Department is attempting to clean up its image literally and figuratively.
Fire chief Richard Pease said via phone Wednesday the WOVFD is inviting the public to help clean up its station and he also wants to show the community it has moved past its two previous scandals.
Prior to Pease taking the reins in September 2018, the previous two fire chiefs were arrested and charged with felonies.
“We want to let the public know that we are still here and even though we have two black eyes, we are still doing the job,” Pease said. “There are some trust issues with the public toward us and we are hoping to turn that around fairly quick.
“We are going to let our actions speak louder than words.”
Pease said the major step to improve the transparency of the WOVFD was forming a seven-member board to ensure funds are properly handled. Pease said the department has 15 volunteer firefighters. He said any of the volunteers except for the fire chief and the assistant fire chief can be part of the board.
Pease said he knows the minds of the public won’t change overnight, but he said the department will be there for anyone in West Odessa needing assistance.
“We’ve turned a lot of things around,” Pease said. “We’ve implemented a lot of new things and we are doing everything we can to keep it from happening again.
“We’ve got a full board in place, so nothing is left up to one man. West Odessa is not a one man department. Everyone has a voice. Every expense the board knows about and has to approve.”
The WOVFD is hosting a cleanup day beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday at the station located at 2757 N. Tripp Ave.
Pease said he doesn’t know how long it will take to clean up the site, but he said the location is in major need of help. WOVFD members will cook hot dogs for the members of the community who come out and help with the clean up.
“It looks like a junkyard,” Pease said. “There’s 30 years worth of junk out there that’s leaving. That’s where cleaning our image starts, right there at our house and at our station.”
In a span of about 13 months, back-to-back WOVFD chiefs were arrested.
Former WOVFD chief Jimmy Ellis and his wife Sherry Ellis were charged with property theft over $150,000, a first-degree felony, on Aug. 8, 2017. Tim Mason, Andrews County District Attorney who will be prosecuting the case, said Thursday the state has provided the defense with all of its information and the defense is now looking through the files. Mason said there’s nothing scheduled as of right now for the Ellis’.
Former chief Sean Dixon held that role for more than year before he and his treasurer Stacie DeMoss Proctor were arrested Sept. 17, 2018, after an investigation by the Texas Rangers. Dixon and Proctor were each charged with tampering with or fabricating physical evidence, a third-degree felony.
Dixon received a grand jury indictment for property theft over $150,000, a second-degree felony, and was booked and released on March 28, jail records show. The listed date of the offense was Aug. 8, 2017. Dixon had a waiver of arraignment for both charges on Wednesday, while Proctor had an arraignment hearing on Monday.