Submitted by his wife
Leslie Keith Gillum began his fire service career in rural Northeast KY with a population of approximately 5‚000 in 1972 by volunteering to assist with fighting brush fires for the KY Division of Forestry. Losing several buildings to these fires‚ a need for a fire department evolved.
In 1974‚ Norton Branch Fire Department was incorporated and operated. With very little knowledge‚ and rustic equipment‚ they began to take calls.
Soon recruiting men‚ training classes‚ and fundraisers began to succeed in saving property and lives. They now have adequate equipment‚ but not the newest or most up to date.
Leslie served in all capacities for his department‚ from janitor‚ groundskeeper‚ firefighter‚ officer‚ chief (1973-1986)‚ and treasurer of the Board of Directors.
He had pride in this department‚ spent many hours keeping the fire station and lawn clean and neat‚ always looking ahead for ways of purchasing the next needed piece of equipment or improvement of the physical structure.
He was a very community oriented person‚ always there to offer a helping hand. His talents and interests were many.
The day he entered the hospital‚ an emergency call came in for assistance to extricate a person from an auto accident. After carrying the Jaws of Life‚ leads‚ gas from truck to site‚ he needed help. His co-firefighters were giving aid to the patient. Ironically the patient was a close neighbor who had gone into a diabetic coma and wrecked.
He served four years with the US Navy during the Korean Conflict. His vocation was as a sheet metal mechanic and welder. He retired after 40 years in 1994.
Leslie was a very devoted family man and a workaholic‚ always there for his parents‚ two sisters‚ three brothers. He never liked to waste time‚ always helping other people with building‚ plumbing‚ roofing‚ electrical‚ welding‚ brick laying‚ lawn care‚ mechanics‚ and gardening. Retirement was good for him. He stayed busy and was not under any restrictions.
We were married for 47 years. A son Gregory (Melissa)‚ a daughter Malana (Tim) Johnson‚ four grandchildren‚ three great-grandchildren‚ several nieces and nephews with whom he loved to tease.
We all have a great void in our lives‚ which can never be filled; however‚ our memories are still alive.
He would not have been comfortable with all the memorial services‚ plaques‚ written tributes‚ the money donations to the fire department in his memory‚ and the outpouring of love and appreciation. It would be beyond his expectations.