Richard Rhea was born October 12‚ 1948 in Louisville‚ Kentucky. He grew up as one of five brothers in the small town of Shepherdsville‚ Kentucky‚ next to Louisville. He became interested in the fire department when the elementary school gym caught fire.
Richard graduated from Western Kentucky University with a degree in chemistry. He was also a trained EMT‚ who worked with the ambulance service. Among his other training‚ Richard graduated from firefighter school first in his class for academic and physical training. He was trained in hazardous materials‚ as well as other specialized public safety areas. He served on the Big Bend Safety Council‚ the Wakulla County Planning Commission‚ and was the Loss Prevention Manager for St. Marks Power.
Richard served in the Army after being in the ROTC at Western Kentucky University. He served in Vietnam and was in the reserves for many years. He held rank of 1st lieutenant. He earned two bronze stars.
Richard was heavily involved in church activities. He served as an Elder in the Presbyterian Church and as the building manager. He did everything he could for anyone in need of help. He was a giver to his family‚ friends‚ and total strangers. He was truly the ‘good Samaritan.’
Richard was a hero. He saved many people as a firefighter and EMT. At one fire‚ he saved the life of a baby by carrying the child out of a burning building. He was firefighter of the year. He was also named the most inspirational person in the county. Many people say he was a public icon of safety.
Richard left a wife of 29 years‚ two daughters‚ two sons‚ three granddaughters and a grandson. He also left four brothers‚ a mother-in-law‚ sister-in-laws and a brother-in-law‚ who all loved him dearly. He was a wonderful husband‚ father‚ and friend.
Richard loved movies‚ ice cream‚ hanging out with his family‚ and gadgets. He was most proud of his father of the year trophy. He never met a stranger. He is forever in our hearts and memories. We miss him everyday. Thank God for such a wonderful man.