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National Fallen Firefighters Foundation

Roll of Honor

District Chief
Age: 53
Year of Death: 2021

Marshal “Mark” Hilley

Mark Hilley was born October 22, 1967, to Bonnie Jean Copeland Cuevas and Kenneth Hilley. The eldest of four, he had three sisters, Lisa, Daphne, and Julianne. Mark graduated from Gulfport High School in 1986 and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, serving for eight years. He saved many lives as a lance corporal Amtrak crew chief. Mark received the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for his acts of heroism. He learned several life lessons in the military that followed him for the rest of his life.

Mark dedicated many years to Nissan and Honda as a master auto technician but found his true calling as a firefighter. He dedicated 20+ years to the Gulfport Fire Department and Harrison County Fire Service. After serving as an EMT, he developed a passion for the medical side of emergency service and became a paramedic. Starting as an engineer, he worked his way up the ranks and became a district chief for Gulfport Fire Department and a battalion chief for Harrison County Fire Service. With his passion for seeing things through and his dedication to becoming the best at what he did, his reputation preceded him.

The epitome of a family man, Mark made finding the balance between work and family look effortless. Family meant everything to him and was his biggest source of joy. Even with his responsibilities and commitments, he made family top priority during game nights, vacations, movie nights, and family dinners. He worked hard and believed in playing hard, too. He loved amusement parks and anywhere with beautiful water for scuba diving. He became a master dive instructor and taught many departments’ dive rescue teams. He was captain of the dive team and was instrumental in making the dive trailer. If Mark took an interest, he was all in.

Mark had a deep love and an ear for music and the ability to play most instruments, including piano and guitar. He got a call one time to play with an upcoming artist with a sudden need for a backup guitarist. Mark had never heard of him, and it was almost four hours from home, so he turned the offer down. Later, he discovered that the artist was none other than Tim McGraw, a memory he would laugh about.

Mark was funny, kind-hearted, sentimental, and incredibly loving. He made many lifelong friends and felt fortunate that he had a list of men that would be there for him no matter what time or place, because he was that kind of friend himself. Mark Hilley was one of a kind. He left a lasting impression on all the lives he touched and is deeply missed by many. Although his life was cut short, he truly lived life to the fullest.

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  1. Mark you are loved and missed every day. Life without my big brother will never be the same.

    – Lisa Fisher