Paul F. Walters II

Paul F. Walters II

Paul F. Walters II proudly lived a life of service to others. When the alarm sounded, Paul responded. This was true for all aspects of Paul’s life. Paul was like a modern day Good Samaritan. Paul learned about service to his community from his late father, Paul F. Walters I, police chief of Bethlehem. However, some boys love fire trucks even more than they love police cruisers, so Paul joined the Bethlehem Volunteer Fire Department just as soon as he could, at age 16. Paul grew and advanced with his service in fire, rescue, and emergency medical work. Paul is one of only a few men who can boast that he loved fire and EMS work so much that he married the fire chief’s daughter, Rebecca L. Weisner. Together, Paul and Becky served the greater Bethlehem area proudly, tirelessly, and selflessly, until Paul’s untimely death on October 11, 2014.

In the course of his service, Paul received many awards and achievements, including all officer classes, EMT-B, state paramedic champion, Pro Board certification (242nd in WV), HAZMAT operations, certified OSHA, and fire instructor.

Paul enjoyed his 39 years of service with the department, 25 of those years as chief. Bethlehem Fire Department members describe Paul as a leader, mentor, instructor, and friend. Paul served as a father figure to many of his junior firefighters. He was instrumental in planning and spec’ing the newest fire truck, which was dedicated in his honor in 2016.

Paul also enjoyed his vocation as a licensed journeyman electrician. Many work hours were spent performing supervisory and safety duties. Paul was a member of IBEW Local 141.

As a member of St. John’s Evangelical Protestant Church, Paul was on the church council, a deacon, lead electrician/maintenance man, and head chef in charge of the spaghetti sauce for the annual fundraising spaghetti dinner.

Service and dedication defined Paul’s life. Paul was possibly one of the last of a vanishing breed. Former Chief Robert Weisner Sr. recalled examples of Paul’s service to his community, “After going to a home that had a fire, with no smoke alarms, he made sure that they received a free smoke alarm and installed it. When the power was off, he loaned portable generators and oxygen tanks to people with medical problems. He would have crews help pump out flooded basements after storms. Due to the increase in oil/gas wells in the area, he made sure that all fire department members had HAZMAT training to keep everyone prepared.”

Paul was also very proud of his members and their dedication to their community. Paul F. Walters II helped to create our future, and in this manner he continues to serve us to this day.

Garry Rose

Garry Rose

Firefighter Garry Rose, age 67, of the McMechen Volunteer Fire Department died of a heart attack as he brought a patient into the emergency room on February 6, 2015.

George D. Underwood

George D. Underwood

George Dillard Underwood was a gentle giant, known and loved by many. His passion for helping others was evident daily, and his passing has profoundly affected the community and all who knew him. George served as chief of the Lake Volunteer Fire Department for 25 years. He was totally dedicated to serving and protecting the Lake, Mill Creek, and Garret Fork communities where he grew up. He enjoyed training, mentoring, and leading the many firefighters who served throughout the years. He especially enjoyed the fire department’s participation in projects that involved safety training or distributing gifts to the children in his area. For many years, he also served as an auxiliary deputy for the Logan County Sheriff’s Department.

George was born on December 1, 1950, at Mill Creek, in Logan County, West Virginia. He entered into eternal rest on Thursday, April 3, 2014, while serving the Lake Community. He was preceded in death by his birthmother, one brother, one sister, and his loving parents, Bill and Erma Underwood.

George grew up at Mill Creek, and with the love, encouragement, and guidance of Bill and Erma, he participated in Boy Scouts, attaining the rank of Eagle Scout, and exceled as a Little League Baseball player. George was a star baseball pitcher at Logan High School, and in 1970 he was drafted to play minor league baseball for the Baltimore Orioles in Aberdeen, South Dakota. He also had a huge fan following as a WCW wrestler known as The Cuban Assassin, and he enjoyed fishing and hunting.

On January 21, 1978, George married Carolyn Ball Underwood, and they made their home in the Lake Community for the next 36 years. George is also survived by two daughters, two sons, two brothers, five sisters, eleven grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and a host of friends and relatives.

George was a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother, and uncle. His warm smile, quick wit, helping nature, and fun-loving ways endeared him to all who knew him and earned him the respect of the citizens of the communities in which he served.

George would have been in absolute awe of the emotional outpouring at his memorial services. He was an unassuming man who expected nothing in return for his service. A social media post shortly after his death summed up George’s character: “What a good man he was…awfully big shoes to fill.”

LAST CALL – Unit 401 – LAST CALL – Rest in Peace George Underwood

Michael Dale “Mikey” Garrett

Michael Dale “Mikey” Garrett

Michael Dale “Mikey” Garrett was born on October 7, 1985, in Clarksburg, West Virginia, to Dale and Faith Garrett. Mikey was the middle of five children, having an older sister and brother and two younger sisters. Mikey’s passion in life was helping others; he also had a great sense of humor, a smile for everyone, and he left a lasting impression on everyone he met.

Mikey began his EMS and firefighter career at the age of 15 by attending the Junior EMS Camp at Harrison County EMS. At age 16, he became a junior firefighter at Nutter Fort Fire Department. His love for the EMS field led him to complete all classes to test and obtain his EMT-B certification a few weeks after his 18th birthday. From there, Mikey went on to obtain his EMT-I certification and was due to graduate from Pierpont Community and Technical College in May 2014 with an associate degree in emergency services.

During his career, Mikey worked with numerous volunteer fire departments and EMS agencies in several counties in West Virginia and several surrounding states. He was employed at Upshur County EMS as an EMT-I, as an instructor for RESA 7 at WVU Fire School, and as firefighter/EMT-I and treasurer at Nutter Fort Fire Department.

In addition to training for the fire and EMS fields, Mikey attended Department of Homeland Security training in Anniston, Alabama.

While juggling college classes, work, and volunteering, Mikey still found time for family functions and parties, vacations with family and friends, and events such as the Tough Mudder with friends.

A scholarship fund has been established in memory of Mikey to assist residents of West Virginia in obtaining their EMT-B or EMT-P certifications.

Mikey is survived by his parents; sisters, Julie, Anna and Katie; brother, Justin; maternal grandparents, Joe and Nancy Scardina; several nieces and nephews; and numerous extended family members.

Charles A. Pierson

Charles A. Pierson

Charles A. “Charlie” Pierson, founding chief of the Southern Jackson County Volunteer Fire Department, died suddenly on December 17, 2013, while responding to an accident. He was a driving force in public and industrial safety and security throughout the state and region,

If I could choose the appropriate words that best describe Charlie as a dedicated fire chief, father, and grandfather, I would cite John F. Kennedy’s famous quote, “Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not.” Charlie had a compassion for serving others and had a vision of creating the Southern Jackson Volunteer Fire Department and providing quality service by the volunteer fire department members and taking care of citizens. His compassion for insisting on doing it correctly through training, training, training, and training benefited both the members of the fire department and the people in time of need.

Charlie exhibited an aggressive attitude of getting the job accomplished and expected the very best performance from the fire department members. “Why not?” After all, that is what was expected from everyone. Charlie would remind me that the public expected quality service. When Charlie had an idea, he pursued it with compassion and would debate the idea which he believed was important because it would benefit the county and not just his department. I earnestly believe a lot of people did not understand Charlie’s approach to achieving goals for the county. Some were not accustomed to his unusual demeanor of persuasion. I personally could get eye to eye and have a lively discussion, and when we were finished he would always say, “Let’s go have a cup of coffee.” That was his unique and unusual method of persuasion. During his years, he achieved remarkable accomplishments in providing quality service to Jackson County.

Charlie lived his fire service years by serving others. He was dependable and always responding to help someone. Charlie’s characteristic of sacrificing his time and energy for others was quite authentic; he was never trying to gain anything for himself. In the Book of John, Chapter 15, Verse 13 says, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Charlie Pierson, responding to an emergency that early morning, gave his life serving others.

In the days before us, when you hear the sirens, remember Charlie. I shall miss him but his legacy will continue. To the members of the Southern Jackson Volunteer Fire Department and his family, you are the legacy. I remember Paul Harvey and how he signed off on his radio messages, “And now the rest of the story,” to continue.

John T. Appleton

John T. Appleton

John Appleton was born to a strong Irish Catholic family on January 5, 1951, in Alamogordo, New Mexico. As a child he spent most of his time out west and always dreamed of returning some day. He moved around quite a bit and finally ended up on the east coast. John attended the University of Texas.

John became a “2nd career” man when he felt the calling of serving Christ in the ordained ministry. He ended up at the Reformed Episcopal Seminary in Philadelphia. John, his wife, and their five children served the Lord in Philadelphia for 25 years. On that eventful day, September 11, 2001, he decided he needed to do something to help. At that time he became involved with a group known as the Chapel of Four Chaplains. It was with this group that he made several trips to “Ground Zero,” where he met people from all over the country and was able to share the gospel and help in many ways, from serving food to sweeping floors. It was as this time John got the bug to become a firefighter; however, where he was living at the time, South Philly, there were not many opportunities to volunteer. John continued to minister in Philadelphia for five more years, when the Lord led him and his family to West Virginia.

It was this move that gave him the opportunity to fulfil that dream of becoming a firefighter. In the community of Malden, West Virginia, just outside of Charleston, John became active in the volunteer fire department. He attended fire school and took classes every chance he got.

He became active in the local community and worked very hard to “keep it local” in outreach and service. He worked to bring a farmers market to the area. This drew people from all over and was scheduled for its first opening the day he died. John had three great loves in his life—God and the church, his family, and the Malden Volunteer Fire Department. He served all three with love and enthusiasm.

John and Cathy were married 38 years and have five children and five grandchildren. John was a man of many words, but a young man in the church said it perfectly, “When you saw Preacher you heard the gospel, and he would tell you to be ready, because you never know when you will be called home.” John was ready when he was called.

Joey A. ‘Joey’ King Jr.

Joey A. 'Joey' King Jr.

Joey was born on August 28‚ 1951‚ in Charleston‚ West Virginia. He grew up with his parents‚ Joseph and Betty Jo‚ and his siblings‚ Arietta‚ Diana‚ Bethel‚ and Linnie Curley.

Joey was blessed to have three children‚ Edna‚ Joey III‚ and LeAnne. Joey’s beloved only son passed away at age 12 in 1988‚ which was very devastating to him. Joey later met his longtime companion‚ Sonja Kay‚ and helped raise her son‚ Anthony. Joey loved to travel to Florida on his motorcycle to visit his daughter and spend time with his granddaughters‚ Amanda and Skyler. Joey loved to ride and was a member of the Patriot Guard and The Red Knights Motorcycle Clubs.

Joey spent many years working at Copley’s Wrecker Service. He later worked for the City of Charleston Sanitary Board as a mechanic‚ before retiring for health reasons. Joey was always there for someone in need. People have said he was the nicest guy they knew and could never be replaced. One man stated at his memorial service that Joey was a First Responder before there was such a thing‚ the man you wanted at an accident scene.

Joey served as a volunteer firefighter for seven years. One of his sisters asked Chief Jeff Snodgrass how Joey got started at the fire department. The chief said Joey joined the fire department not for himself‚ but for Anthony. He came and asked if he and Anthony could join. He felt that Anthony was maybe hanging around the wrong crowd and wanted to get him into something more positive. I don’t think Joey had any idea how much it would affect his life! In the early days he was there to see that Anthony went in the right direction‚ but he soon realized that he had a knack for what the fire department does–helping people! He became not only a firefighter‚ but a great friend to many members of the department. He saw that he could use his mechanical skills to benefit the fire department by caring for the equipment. Most people will never realize how valuable an asset Joey was to our department. He was our friend‚ our brother‚ our mentor‚ and many looked to him for personal advice to help them to get through life. He was a great man‚ and we miss him every day.

Joey loved to tease and play practical jokes on others. He enjoyed taking his nieces’ sons and granddaughters to his garage‚ sitting them on his motorcycle‚ or taking them to the firehouse and putting them in the fire truck.

On December 4‚ 2011‚ we lost a lifelong companion‚ father‚ uncle‚ grandpa‚ brother‚ friend‚ and firefighter‚ but most of all A GIFT OF LIFE. We love and miss you.

Donald W. Adkins III

Donald Willard Donnie Bubby Adkins III‚ 32‚ of Cedar Grove‚ West Virginia‚ died March 13‚ 2010‚ while assisting with a swift water rescue during flooding at Beaver. He and his crew had successfully rescued 15 people before their boat capsized‚ throwing all three of them into the water. Two were rescued shortly after they capsized.

Born on November 26‚ 1977‚ in Charleston‚ Donnie attended DuPont High School and was most recently employed by the Capital Resource Weatherization Program in Montgomery. He had been a member of the Glasgow Volunteer Fire Department since 2008 and was a previous member of the Rand Volunteer Fire Department.

He was a loving son‚ brother‚ father‚ and friend to many‚ especially his friends at the fire department‚ where he spent many hours. He was known for his love of WVU football and basketball‚ as well as NASCAR. His favorite driver was Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Left behind to cherish his memory are his mother‚ Lynn Adkins Sigmon‚ of Charleston; father‚ Donald Adkins Jr.‚ of Mammoth; sister‚ Renee Coleman (Wesley)‚ of Cedar Grove; and many aunts‚ uncles‚ and cousins.

He was a loving father to son‚ Devin Buzzard‚ of Sylvester; son‚ Ethan Adkins‚ of St. Albans; as well as special children‚ Joshua Perdue of Sylvester and Allyssa Evans of Cedar Grove. He will always be a hero to all the family and friends he leaves behind.

The family wishes to express their heartfelt thanks to the many‚ many volunteers who participated in the search for Donnie and also to those who have offered prayers and support through this difficult time.

Johnnie Howard Hammons

Johnnie Howard Hammons

Lt. Johnnie H. Hammons was born August 24‚ 1959‚ to the late JoAnn and Erman Hammons. He was preceded in death by one brother‚ Robert Hammons‚ and is survived by three brothers: Gary and wife Debbie‚ Larry‚ and Ronnie Hammons; and one sister‚ Carla (Hammons) Bailey and husband Charles. He has several nieces and nephews who he dearly loved.

He was a resident of Nicholas County and graduated from Richwood High School. He was a retired sawmill worker and was a member of Civil Air Patrol‚ where he fought wildland fires in Montana.

He joined the Craigsville-Bever-Cottle Volunteer Fire Department in January 1998 and became a certified firefighter in September 1998. He completed I.C.S. in March 1999 and was Firefighter of the Year in 1999 and 2000. In April 2002 he became I.S.O. and he attained the rank of first lieutenant in 2005. June of 2008 he became Fire Officer 1 certified (Delmar).

He loved to ride ATVs‚ hunt‚ fish‚ and spend time with family and friends. When he wasn’t contributing his time to help the community and assisting neighbors‚ local businesses‚ and organizations‚ he always cut firewood for his mom and anyone else who needed it. He was always there when someone needed help no matter what time of day or night.

The C-B-C Fire Department held a pizza party the Christmas of 1999 for underprivileged children of the community. A father brought his four children to see Santa and to celebrate Christmas‚ as this was the only way the children would have Christmas. Johnnie had noticed the man carrying two of the children and the other two walking behind. They had no shoes on their feet and only wore long-sleeved shirts for jackets. Johnnie‚ without saying a word‚ quickly exited the building. When he returned‚ he had several packages wrapped with names of the children on each one. He handed them to Santa. One by one‚ the gifts were given‚ and when opened‚ each child had a new pair of shoes and a warm winter coat to wear home. His generosity will always be remembered‚ and he will be sadly missed by all.

Timothy Allen Nicholas Sr.

Timothy Allen Nicholas Sr.

Timothy Allen Nicholas was born in Nicholas County‚ West Virginia‚ on August 23‚ 1982‚ and was the son of Timothy Leo Nicholas and Bonnie Nottingham. He is survived by his companion‚ Amber Jackson; daughter‚ Carlee Jaydon Nicholas; and son‚ Timothy Allen Nicholas Jr. He was a 2001 graduate from Nicholas County High School‚ Summersville‚ West Virginia.

Timothy served his country in the United States Marine Corps from 2001 to 2005‚ attaining the rank of Corporal E-4‚ and was a member of the West Virginia National Guard CERF (HAZMAT) Team of Huntington. Timothy served on security teams at the West Virginia State Capitol during the 2009 gubernatorial inauguration and in Washington‚ DC‚ during the 2009 presidential inauguration.

Timothy was proud to serve his country‚ as well as the personal level of serving his community as a volunteer firefighter with the Craigsville-Beaver-Cottle Volunteer Fire Department in Craigsville‚ West Virginia. He also served as a volunteer firefighter with Nettie Volunteer Fire Department in Nicholas County‚ West Virginia.‚ and Topsail Beach Fire Department in North Carolina. He was an emergency vehicle operator by profession for Redi-Care Ambulance and Jan-Care Ambulance.

Timothy’s lifelong dream was to become a law enforcement officer‚ and he was in the process of testing for a position within the local level. Timothy loved lights and sirens. His face would light up as bright as the newest light he would possess.

Timothy loved the outdoors‚ hunting‚ fishing‚ and his favorite hobby‚ driving on old dirt back roads just to see where they led. Timothy was a prankster‚ always pulling tricks and jokes on anyone he knew. One night Timothy was riding around an old dirt road with his dad and a friend‚ when he got an idea. He told his dad he needed to go home because he wasn’t feeling well. His dad dropped him off at home and continued with his journey down the dirt road. Timothy quickly changed into his BDUs and a baseball cap‚ jumped in his vehicle‚ and proceeded down the road. He waited in lure for his dad to drive by‚ and he pulled in behind him and turned on his lights and siren. Timothy went up to his dad’s vehicle‚ lowered his voice‚ and asked for license‚ insurance‚ and registration. Timothy’s dad complied with all commands‚ looking forward. Timothy proceeded as if he were the ‘real cops.’ For several minutes‚ he led his dad to believe he was going to jail. Timothy realized his dad was beginning to panic‚ so he handed his papers back and said‚ ‘See you at home‚ Dad.’ Timothy’s dad was shocked. All he could say‚ with wide eyes and a gapped mouth‚ was‚ ‘You little s-t!’

Timothy gave the extreme sacrifice for his community. He brings honor to his family‚ friends‚ and his community. His loving memories of bringing laughter and joy to all who knew him will be sadly missed.