Melvin Burris was born in Cleveland County but has lived in Gaston County for over 40 years. He is a graduate of Hunter Huss, class of 1982. Melvin became a firefighter in 1987 with the Gastonia City Fire Department and retired as a fire inspector in 2016.
Melvin graduated from Gaston College with an associate degree in Fire Science. He is also a graduate of the NC Fire Prevention school and a Level 3 public educatior. He is a CPR/First Aid Instructor, Basic Life Support Instructor and a Fire Safety Instructor.
Melvin has been a mentor for Gaston County schools for over 25 years. He has been the president of the Upward Highland Foundation for 22 years and the chairman of the Gaston Highland Festival for 27 years.
Melvin is on the Trustee Board at Emmanuel Missionary Baptist Church.