On October 22, 2020, Hugh Hollowell passed away at age 69 from COVID contracted in the line of duty. Except for his four years of service in the Air Force right after high school, he lived in Marshall County, Mississippi, his entire life. It was there he married his wife of 51 years, Pat, and had three sons, Hugh Jr., Neal, and Jimmy. He loved tinkering with things and spending time with his grandchildren.
He had been a member of the Watson Volunteer Fire Department since its inception in the late 1970s. Over his long career, he spent seven years as the fire department’s chief and had numerous certifications and awards as a result of his service. At the time of his death, he was president of the fire department’s board of directors and an active firefighter in good standing.
In his professional life, he had been the emergency management coordinator for Marshall County, Mississippi, since 1996. He spent the pandemic working long hours, coordinating the procurement and delivery of personal protective equipment for the county’s first responders and EMS personnel, often delivering the equipment himself late into the night.
Hugh was supposed to retire in June of 2020. He and his wife, Pat, planned to travel west and see the wide-open spaces he had dreamed and read about for years. When the pandemic hit, however, he decided that he could not retire ethically in the middle of a crisis.
After a lifetime of commitment to his community, Hugh died trying to ensure that it was protected. He would not have wanted to be called a hero for doing his job, but those who knew him know the truth.