MANSFIELD, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – NBC 6 News Salutes the Badge by recognizing a trailblazing member of the Mansfield Fire Department. Captain Bryan Ross is the first black fire captain in the city’s history.

But Captain Ross doesn’t just serve the city, he also serves Desoto Parish and is setting an unprecedented example as the only black man to serve as captain for the parish’s Fire and Emergency Response System.

“As a young man you know everybody always hopes to be a positive role model, a big influence in their community. And being that Chief [LaTarsha] Shelton has put me in a place where I’m able to do that. And they get to actually see that an African American male that is in fire services, that’s actually, you know, being there for them,” said Ross.

Captain Ross is just 30 years olds, but all 30 years have been spent living in Desoto Parish.

He hopes his example is one others can follow and it helps shape their life.

“Me growing up here. They can relate to me,” said Ross. “They actually can see that, ‘Oh OK, well there’s maybe something that I can do as well’. I can go out there and be more than what society thinks that I should be.”