Claud G. Messer passed away on Friday, September 20, 2019. A native of Haywood County, North Carolina, he was a founding member of the Jonathan Creek Fire Department in 1986. He served as the chairman of the board of directors, and a captain within the department for more than 30 years. Known to the community as Paw, he loved the outdoors and shared all things in life with his beloved wife, Judy. He enjoyed camping, horseback riding, and family gatherings. He was a man willing to help anyone in need.
Edward Hale once said, “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.” Claud Messer lived to serve others and led by example. He was the kind of person that would put himself in harm’s way before he would ask you to do the same. The traces of a life well lived are all over the Jonathan Creek community. He understood the power of putting others before himself. During the blizzard in 1993, he stayed on the road more than at home, digging his truck out for hours to see that he did everything he could to keep others warm. He never tired from getting up early to respond to help someone in need. When you live a life where you model service to others daily, it’s hard for it not to be contagious. It had a significant impact on his oldest grandson’s decision to join the military and become a Marine. It is also why his youngest grandson serves his community as a law enforcement officer.
He will be remembered as someone who did everything in his power to leave this world a little bit better than he found it. He discovered “the something” that he could do, and he did it every day. He put others before himself and served them with every ounce of energy he had. And, it was what he was doing in the final moments of his life on Friday, September 20. His unselfishness and his genuine compassion for others left its mark.
We were not prepared to say goodbye so suddenly. There were more lessons to learn. There were more “Thank-yous” and more “I love yous” that we missed saying. But we must carry on, because that is what he would have wanted. Fortunately, there is still a light to guide us from the example he set for us.