John lived life as an example to all those around him. Honesty, fairness, leadership, and a quick sense of humor were only some of the qualities that made him the man anyone wanted to follow. During his 25 years at the Whitfield County Fire Department, he always strove to better his department as well as those around him. This is evident in the young group of firemen who came up under him that now will continue his legacy.
He was constantly pushing those around him to not accept their current situation, but always strive to be a better version of themselves. This legacy will be continued through the college scholarship fund that Whitfield County has set up in his name. This scholarship will be awarded to children of other fallen firefighters to help with education costs.
John learned much of his leadership and mentoring skills while serving our country in the United States Marine Corps. During his six years in the service he rose to the rank of staff sergeant in the recon battalion, where he achieved scholastic notoriety by being first in his class. He learned to mentor young men while working as a dive instructor at Coronado Island, where he instructed other marines and sailors.
John never quite lost that marine instructor mentality, as most of his rookie firefighters could attest to. While performing his duties as the rookie instructor he was strict, but always maintained a fairness that nobody could question. He expected nothing less than the absolute best from all his cadets, including his own son. Those cadets now carry on his legacy of not only saving lives, but also being upstanding citizens in the community.
John was paged out to a lady giving birth. At the time, the department only had one full-time person per station. The rest of the department was volunteers. When he arrived on the scene, there was a lady in a very tiny bathroom delivering twins. He delivered the twins by himself, and one wasn’t breathing. He performed CPR and got the baby breathing. He received Firefighter of the Year that year.
Not only did he give his time to his department, he also sacrificed much of his time for his family. John is survived by his wife, Genesis; sons, John and Jacob; daughter, Olivia; and grandchildren, Victoria, William, Katherine, and John Chester VI. While John left us all too soon, he will always be remembered through the works he did, as well as all of the lives he touched in his 56 years with us.