U.S. Air Force veteran Doug Mummert spent 36 years battling flames and saving lives with the Phoenix Fire Department, earning a Medal of Honor and other awards, but he is nowhere near ready to hang up his hat.
The North Central resident serves as president/chairman of the board for the Phoenix Fire Foundation, which raises money for the Phoenix Fire Department, as well as other public safety agencies in the region. Mummert also is fired up about his work as president and National Trustee of the Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and he volunteers as a board member of Arizona Search Dogs, an organization that offers canine search capabilities.
The Camelback High School graduate, ahead of this month’s Veterans Day, says public service was instilled in him as a child. His father, John Mummert, was the Maricopa County sheriff in the 1960s and 70s.
“It’s second nature to me and it’s very fulfilling and very rewarding and I wouldn’t change it for the world,” Mummert said.
He joined the U.S. Air Force after high school. A movie showing firefighters extinguishing flames from aircraft sparked his interest in firefighting.
The Vietnam War had ended but Mummert’s career was taking off as he completed basic training and then was assigned to an Air Force base in Illinois, where he became certified as a firefighter. He later was stationed at Williams Air Force Base, where he engaged in extensive training with firefighting.
“We didn’t have a ton of action,” Mummert said. “We did have fires, generally mostly in the housing areas…then some aircraft incidents and crashes.”
He went to Mesa Community College and became an emergency medical technician. Mummert also has attended Phoenix College, Arizona State University, Grand Canyon University and the Community College of the Air Force. While he loved the Air Force, he said he “yearned for something else and more action.”
After completing an interview process and test, he was hired by the Phoenix Fire Department in 1979.
Mummert served as a firefighter, paramedic, Hazardous Materials Technician, engineer, captain, public information officer and battalion chief at Phoenix Fire Department. He said he received the department’s Medal of Honor after he and another firefighter, while on vacation in Mexico, helped rescue a man who was injured in an accident, with his leg “partially amputated.” Mummert and his friend treated the man, rode with him in an ambulance and contacted U.S. and Mexican authorities to arrange for a helicopter to meet them at the border. They orchestrated having the man flown to a hospital in Phoenix, where his leg was successfully reattached. Later they learned the man was a U.S. Marine.
“It comes full circle because we were able to help another veteran,” Mummert said.
He also was an original member of the Phoenix Fire Department’s Arizona Task Force and later for the Phoenix Fire’s All Hazardous Incident Management Team. Mummert later joined FEMA’s Incident Support Team (IST).
He is known as the “father” of Samantha, the synthesized voice that is heard dispatching incidents over Channel One on the radio and in fire stations. Mummert also lent his own voice to the broadcasting industry in various capacities. He took over as managing director of the Phoenix Fire Television Network in the late 1990s. In 1998, he, his team and department leadership collaborated to create the “Phoenix Fire Works” TV program, which covered topical fire department-related issues. Mummert also was the long-time host and producer of Phoenix Fire’s weekly radio show, “Valley Watch.”
Mary Morrison, president of the House of Broadcasting, Inc. (HOBI), said Mummert is a “man of passion and action,” who “brought structure” to the local/Southwest Emmy Awards.
Paula Pedene, executive director of Honoring America’s Veterans and a U.S. Navy veteran, also praised Mummert. She met him years ago at a crisis management event when she was working for the Phoenix VA.
“The pointers he provided to us were excellent, and it helped us better prepare for any contingencies we might face,” Pedene said.
She said later Mummert helped support the Phoenix Veterans Day Parade.
“He brought many bright moments to my time as a PIO, and I am grateful to him for his compassion and support,” Pedene said.