Charles A. “Charlie” Pierson, founding chief of the Southern Jackson County Volunteer Fire Department, died suddenly on December 17, 2013, while responding to an accident. He was a driving force in public and industrial safety and security throughout the state and region,
If I could choose the appropriate words that best describe Charlie as a dedicated fire chief, father, and grandfather, I would cite John F. Kennedy’s famous quote, “Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not.” Charlie had a compassion for serving others and had a vision of creating the Southern Jackson Volunteer Fire Department and providing quality service by the volunteer fire department members and taking care of citizens. His compassion for insisting on doing it correctly through training, training, training, and training benefited both the members of the fire department and the people in time of need.
Charlie exhibited an aggressive attitude of getting the job accomplished and expected the very best performance from the fire department members. “Why not?” After all, that is what was expected from everyone. Charlie would remind me that the public expected quality service. When Charlie had an idea, he pursued it with compassion and would debate the idea which he believed was important because it would benefit the county and not just his department. I earnestly believe a lot of people did not understand Charlie’s approach to achieving goals for the county. Some were not accustomed to his unusual demeanor of persuasion. I personally could get eye to eye and have a lively discussion, and when we were finished he would always say, “Let’s go have a cup of coffee.” That was his unique and unusual method of persuasion. During his years, he achieved remarkable accomplishments in providing quality service to Jackson County.
Charlie lived his fire service years by serving others. He was dependable and always responding to help someone. Charlie’s characteristic of sacrificing his time and energy for others was quite authentic; he was never trying to gain anything for himself. In the Book of John, Chapter 15, Verse 13 says, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Charlie Pierson, responding to an emergency that early morning, gave his life serving others.
In the days before us, when you hear the sirens, remember Charlie. I shall miss him but his legacy will continue. To the members of the Southern Jackson Volunteer Fire Department and his family, you are the legacy. I remember Paul Harvey and how he signed off on his radio messages, “And now the rest of the story,” to continue.