Chief Billy Matthews II, 71, of Bassfield made the ultimate sacrifice on February 14, 2017, during a routine grass fire.
Billy was a volunteer fire chief for the Town of Bassfield for nine years. He was well known in the community for being the first person to arrive on scene where assistance was needed. Matthews never met a stranger and treated every person he met with respect. He spent time at the local schools educating the kids on fire safety and checking all fire safety equipment to make sure everything was up to par. He volunteered his time to help the Jefferson Davis County Police Department any time assistance was needed. Chief Matthews or “Mr. Bill” graciously gave himself to all the people of the community, whether it was putting out a fire, assisting another fire department, putting together fundraisers, getting someone gas, unlocking cars, or helping a person seeking help find their way to the medical attention they needed.
His fire department looked at him as a father figure, and each one of the young men and women in his department and in the small town would stop by his office for the occasional Mr. Bill Advice. He enjoyed spending time with his family, cooking out with his department members, or pulling an ultimate joke on one of the employees of the town. He was patiently waiting on the arrival of his first granddaughter, Aryia Haze Matthews, who will be blessed with many, many humble and funny stories of her Paw Paw.
Because of his service to the community, he will forever be remembered as the town of Bassfield’s fire chief. We will all know he took his last breath and final call doing what he loved to do.
He is survived by his wife of 22 years, Liz Ann Matthews; son, Grant Tyler Matthews, and wife, Brandie Matthews; daughter, Amanda Surla; and a host of other family and friends.
We all miss him tremendously, but we feel blessed to have loved and served beside him for the years we had with him. He would want everyone to continue his legacy and help others with an open mind and big heart.