Ronald Keith “Shorty” Helton was born August 16, 1954, in Baltimore, Maryland, to Worley J. Helton and Helen L. (Mowery) Helton. His parents and sister, Sharon, among many other family members, welcomed him to the other side on October 29, 2018. He was of Catholic faith and at one time wanted to become a priest.
Ronald got his start in the Civil Air Patrol, where he volunteered for several years until he became a volunteer firefighter in 1972. He was a 45+ year member of the fire services. He had served with three different stations, two at the same time and with our son. He was named Fire Fighter of the Year several times during the years that he served. Shorty served as the training instructor, firefighter, and on the board of trustees as the vice president for the Firebrick Volunteer Fire Department in Firebrick, Kentucky.
Ronald hated school and dropped out his sophomore year, but enrolled in the adult GED program, where he graduated before he was supposed to graduate high school. He went on to take the adult machine maintenance program at Ashland Career and Technical School in Ashland, Kentucky. He had been an employee at AK Steel in Ashland since 2000. He enjoyed working with his son’s high school band boosters for football Friday nights and Saturday band competitions. When he was a teenager, he loved to make models, mostly airplanes.
Ronald’s sense of humor was something to remember, along with his love for firefighting. He loved telling stories of growing up in Baltimore and Abingdon, Virginia, where he spent many summers visiting his grandmother, cousins, and uncle. He always had a smile on his face and loved to share stories with our son about the many fire calls that he had throughout his long career as a fireman.
He loved going for bingo with his mom and the other people in the nursing home when he could. All the ladies loved when he could make it to bingo. He never really met a person he couldn’t talk to.
Ronald suffered a massive heart attack while on a motor vehicle accident. He was attempting to work traffic control when he went down. Ronald leaves behind his loving wife of 25 years, Rita; their son, Matthew; and their daughter from his previous marriage, Katherine. He also leaves behind the many firemen and ladies he has been through fire with who deeply miss him at the station. There is always a story or two they will share.