Submitted by his Family
Captain Billy A. ‘Bill’ Gafford‚ Jr.; 56‚ was Captain of Station 16 of the Birmingham Fire and Rescue.
Bill was a great man who dedicated himself to any job/project he was tasked with or set his goals on. He grew up in Pratt City‚ Alabama and attended Glenn Vocational where he became a draftsman. He worked as a structural steel detailer for over 30 years until September 2001. Throughout his years as a draftsman he was well respected and left a lasting impression of excellent work. During his years as a draftsman‚ Bill dedicated himself to become a Firefighter and EMT/Paramedic. He became a firefighter in June 1984 after graduating from Birmingham’s Firefighter Rookie School.
‘He is one man‚ a true leader‚ who will be missed tremendously‚’ stated co-workers.
In addition to full time firefighting duties‚ he donated his spare time with The Shady Grove Volunteer Fire Department‚ serving as Chief from 1988-1991. He had his Hazardous Material‚ EMT and Paramedic certification. He was the Fire Fighter Representative for the City of Birmingham Relief System Fireman and Policeman Supplemental Pension Systems. He was known not to beat around the bush and tell it like it was.
He recently graduated The Magic City Clown School where ‘Grampy’ earned his Clown certification so he can volunteer his time to make others laugh at local Birmingham hospitals.
Captain Gafford was one great guy; he was always doing something worthwhile‚ something that would bring pleasure and happiness to others. ‘He lived life to its fullest‚’ stated a friend and co-worker.
No matter what kind of mood you were in around him‚ he would always bring out a smile. There was gentleness in his spirit‚ a thoughtfulness that went out in everything he did and every word he spoke.
Bill was also a wonderful husband‚ father and grandfather. He enjoyed taking trips to Florida throughout the year to spend quality time with the family. He adored spending time with the grand kids; making sure to put a smile on their face as soon as they entered the room. As a father‚ he set the example for his sons to follow by always lending a helping hand when needed and instilling a strong family bond among us all. What he treasured the most was when the whole family got together for special events or holidays. All of us have great memories with Bill‚ Dad and Grandpa. Like‚ when we visit the fire station and Grandpa would bring out his box of silly toys that he kept for our visit. Another enjoyable memory is when Dad had to work at the station during on a holiday and the whole family would go to the fire station to celebrate the holiday with all the fire fighters over dinner. While enjoying the meal we would meet other fire fighter’s families sometime as well.
Bill’s accomplishments have been well noted in his life and will be treasured for many years. Although we strive to live another day without our loved one; we try to live knowing that he has made an impact on saving someone else’s life. We will miss you Dad!
Captain Gafford died in the line of duty on April 25‚ 2007. He was performing an annual fitness training exercise at the University of Alabama-Birmingham when he suffered a heart attack and collapsed. He was treated by other rescue members who were at the training exercise and transported him to the hospital where he later died.
He is survived by his wife: Cheryl Gafford; Sons: Billy Gafford‚ III and Jonathan Gafford; and Grandchildren: Cordelia‚ Everette‚ Zachary‚ Joshua and Alicea.