Michael Eric “Bubba” Pennell was born on April 4, 1968, with firefighting in his blood. The first picture he drew in kindergarten was of a firetruck. As a teenager, when the fire tones would go off, he would run out the door carrying his shoes and coat to get to the fire department faster. He spent a lot of time hanging out at the fire department while dating his future wife, Amy. His wife knew she was marrying a dedicated firefighter, as they left their wedding on the back of a 1939 firetruck. Bubba and Amy didn’t have any children, but he took care of the firetrucks like they were his own kids. When he wasn’t serving at the fire department, he still served his community as a 911 dispatcher for over 12 years after a career in the furniture industry. He also enjoyed his hobby of restoring classic vehicles, especially Chevrolet trucks.
He served with the Central Alexander Fire Department in Taylorsville, North Carolina, for over 30 years. He obtained the North Carolina Fire Fighter I, Fire Fighter II, and Engineer certifications during his time of service. He was awarded “Firefighter of the Year” in 2003, 2011, and posthumously in 2017. He died doing what he loved, being a fireman, after suffering a medical event while on duty working at the station.
He represented the Central Alexander Fire Department by spending many hours there over his years of service. The community knew of his dedication to serving them by responding to calls and making sure the firetruck was at many community events. Bubba counted the other firefighters and their families as his family.
Bubba will always be loved and remembered by Amy, his wife of 27 years, family, fellow firefighters, emergency personnel, and his community, for his laughter, sense of humor, love for God, community service, and dedication.