David Anthony Heath was a brilliant man. He loved a few things that no one could take away from him, like his family, surfing, the ocean, and of course the fire service. He ate it up in every possible way, and those around him knew it and could see it because he leaked it from every pore of his body.
As a baby, his love of the fire service was more than evident with his first words spoken being “Fi tuck..fi tuck,” while he lay on the changing table in his childhood home. From the beginning, David would pay visits to the fire station where his assistant fire chief uncle worked in Wilson, North Carolina, and his love for this profession grew tremendously.
Before graduation from Fayetteville Terry Sanford High School in Fayetteville, North Carolina, David began his distinguished fire service career. In 1984, he joined as a volunteer with Bonnie Doone Fire/Rescue in Cumberland County. In 1985, our family moved to Raleigh, North Carolina, where he eventually joined with Durham Highway Fire/Rescue. Shortly thereafter, he left for the department he so loved, Six Forks Fire/Rescue, where he attained the rank of lieutenant and served for over seven years. He was then hired by the City of Wilson, where he served for two years. Because he missed Raleigh so deeply, David returned to the area and began working for the City of Raleigh Fire/Rescue. David spent many years there, until he was given the opportunity to become employed as an officer with the Town of Morrisville, where he spent three additional years.
He was offered the most important position of his career, as fire inspector/investigator with New Hanover County Fire/Rescue Services in Wilmington, North Carolina, which would be his final assignment. At the time of his passing, David was a fire instructor and training officer for New Hanover County Fire/Rescue. David attained certifications as a nationally certified fire investigator, emergency medical technician, and numerous additional certifications. Most recently, he was in the process of attaining his executive fire officer certification and was awarded his bachelor’s degree in organizational development from Mt. Olive College in October 2013.
He was lovingly known as “Wingnut” and “Torque Wrench,” referring to his character and work ethic. David was a firefighter of nearly thirty years, as well as a son and a brother. He is the reason his brother is a firefighter of twenty-eight years. Losing David has been extremely difficult, but the many blessings arising from his death have been tremendous.
Rest Easy, “Dabid.” Your baby brother has it from here. We all do. We love and miss you.