Samuel Walter Dunham, the second of eleven children, born in Jacksonville, Florida recently enjoyed an afternoon of honor and praise for a job well done at Michon’s in College Park, GA. He accredits his parents, Mrs. Martha Carter of Savannah and the late Johnnie Carter for his success. They shaped the morals and character of not only himself, but all his siblings as they struggled to make a difference in their children’s lives. Their strong love and discipline have continued to pay dividends, and it has been passed down by Walter to his children and now his grandchildren.
Sam was a graduate of the 1971 class of A. E. Beach High. He entered the US Air Force the day after graduation. He served in the Vietnam War, received two Vietnam Service Medals and toured the country of Thailand. After the Air Force, he became employed by the Jacksonville Fire Department.
In 1980 he moved to Atlanta and was hired by the Atlanta Bureau of FireServices. After joining the Atlanta Bureau of Fire Service, Sam quickly got involved.
As soon as he was eligible, he was appointed Fire Apparatus Operator, he joined The Atlanta Chapter of the International Association of Black Professional Firefighters, Brothers Combined where he was later elected Executive Vice-president.
Chief Dunham raised and Sam quickly climbed the promotional ranks of the department becoming aLieutenant, Captain, and Battalion Chief. He served as Chief at Station 35 at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport,
He supervised and guided more than 70 Firefighters while taking charge of $60 million of fire fighting and life saving equipment.
In 1984 he became active with the Martin Luther King, Jr. March Committee He serves as one of the coordinators of the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday March and Celebration.
Anyone who knows Chief Dunham knows he can be found on the streets and in the schools of Atlanta trying to make a difference.
Chief Dunham loves reading and knows the importance of reading. He started a reading program at Emma Hutchinson Elementary School of Atlanta – Boys to Men Summit. This program focuses on reading and life skills. Sam has a love of flying and received his private pilot license and is a member of the Black Pilots Association.
He remarried in 2007 to the lovely Brigette Yearby Dunham. He loves his family, traveling, going on long bike rides with his wife, doing home repairs and working on cars with his sons.
Chief Samuel Dunham was recognized and awarded with many Proclamations and Certificates. He received a cased Chrome Plated Axe from the members of the Atlanta Fire Department, was presented the Rank of Fire Chief from Chief Joel Baker(Interim Chief Atlanta Fire Rescue), a bronze eagle from retiredchief, a mounted Runway Light from the Airport Division and a visual documentary tribute, as aired, of himself as an Unsung Hero from Hutchinson Elementary School.
He is married to Brigette Yearby Dunham. He is the proud father of Vernest, Valerie,Walter Jr., Miles and Jennifer. He does have a grandson Kahlil whom he enjoys.
He loves his family, traveling, going on long bike rides with his wife, doinghome repairs and working on cars with his sons. We are proud of him!