Jason Byrd lost his life while fighting a structure fire on February 18, 2019. He had just taken equipment up the ladder when he collapsed. His brothers and sisters in service immediately began life saving measures, while continuing fireground operations. The home was saved but unfortunately, he did not survive.
He started with the Hickory Withe Volunteer Fire Department in 2000. Over 19 years, he was promoted to lieutenant, captain, and eventually chief. He worked full-time at the local electric company as a network engineer and was respected by his peers. His family was his top priority, but his job as fire chief was his passion. He loved helping in the schools, teaching children not to be afraid of firefighters, changing out smoke detectors for people who needed help, and raising money for MDA Fill the Boot.
He was born in Memphis on August 27, 1976, to Patricia Yager and Johnny Byrd. His uncle and grandfather were in the fire service, and he was fascinated about helping his community. At age 14, he was involved in a serious ATV accident, which ignited his passion to give back to the community that helped rescue him. He graduated from Fayette Ware High School in 1994 and from Christian Brothers University with an electrical engineering degree.
He was an amazing husband to Jamie and an even better father to his children, Shelby and Jackson. Jamie and Jason had many years together in the fire service making memories and enjoying time with their fire family, a family like no other. The department was a family with him at the head of the table. This group was there for each other for weddings, funerals, and everything in between, and they continue to take care of each other and his family. Jason’s hobbies included boating, hunting, riding ATVs, tailgating, and spending time with friends and family.
It speaks volumes to Jason’s character that he worked full-time, completed the tasks of the volunteer fire chief, and helped anyone in need. He was selfless, caring, funny, and genius in many aspects. He is survived by his wife, Jamie Gray Byrd; his children, Shelby and Jackson Byrd; his mother, Patricia Yager Hale (Bruce); his father, Johnny Byrd (Bonnie Spears); and his sister, Jessica White (Marcus). He will always be missed by his family, his fire family, and countless other lives he touched. One thing everyone noticed was his incredible smile. It conveyed his character without him speaking a word—honest, kind, loving, and always ready to help his fellow man.