For nearly a decade, William Davenport – better known as Daffy – has taken part in the rapid expansion and increased capability of BCFS Health and Human Services’ Emergency Management Division (EMD).
Daffy was born on the south side of San Antonio, Texas, in the Highland Park area. He graduated from Highlands High School before joining the San Antonio Fire Department (SAFD), where he served for 35 years.
Daffy’s career path demanded a broad range of expertise and an appetite for variety. Daffy’s work with the fire department led him to video production with SAFD, where he would haul a video camera inside burning buildings to film San Antonio’s first responders at work. The video he captured would then be used to train new recruits or to instruct current department members on what to do differently.
Daffy’s next adventure would be with San Antonio’s channel 4 news, WOAI-TV (which between 1974 and 2002 had the KMOL-TV call sign). Daffy was behind the camera during some important moments for the city. “I was a live truck operator, I did spot news at night, I did live shots and city hall; I covered the Pope,” said Daffy, referring to Pope John Paul II’s 1987 visit to San Antonio.
The sum of Daffy’s work put him at an intersection somewhere between emergency management, communication, video, and pure gadgetry. Kevin Dinnin, President and CEO of the BCFS System, often refers to Daffy as the real-life MacGyver, the fictional character known for diffusing bombs with little more than a paper clip and a rubber band. Daffy never had to diffuse any actual bombs during his time with EMD (with rubber bands or otherwise), but when it came to making sure all equipment was in top notch and ready to deploy at a moment’s notice, he held an outstanding, never-quit attitude!
Joining EMD in 2010, Daffy remembers the smaller size of the team and the limited resources they had to work with at the time, recalling a fleet of fewer than 10 vehicles and a handful of communication devices like radios, phones, and repeaters. Today, EMD’s logistics section has grown to include fire trucks, ambulances, tractor trailers, generators, RV trailers, mobile command platforms, box trucks, trailers for laundry and bathing, field hospitals, and many more vital pieces of equipment. With his guidance and vision the EMD section has and is still growing in all areas. In addition to specialized vehicles there are Field Hospitals, Mobile Radio repeater trailers.
Now, as Daffy begins his transition to retirement and works with EMD as a PRN (pro re nata) personnel, he sees the growth that has taken place over the course of his tenure. EMD currently has a fleet of more than 100 vehicles, many of them highly specialized, and the organization has hundreds of communication devices designed to increase collaboration and decrease response times. The staff has grown from a humble team of six to more than 2,000 personnel.
In retirement, Daffy plans to spend his free time at his house in North Padre Island on the bay side, enjoying the view from his water front property where he says it’s always 5 o’clock!
Learn more about how EMD works to better the lives of those in the wake of disaster.