Charles Eugene Kessel

Charles Eugene Kessel

Charles was born in West Virginia and spent most of his life enjoying the pleasures of a rural‚ mountainous area. He especially enjoyed hunting. In his 20s‚ he began to volunteer as a firefighter. His day job was that of a school bus driver. Being a genuinely friendly man‚ Charles would greet each student with a cheerful‚ ‘Good morning‚’ and a smile. For many years‚ he held a second job at the senior citizens center. He enjoyed transporting the elderly to their appointments and loved talking to the shut-ins as he delivered their meals.

While a member of the Maysville Volunteer Fire Department‚ Charles held several offices including vice-president‚ president‚ and trustee. He worked tirelessly on the numerous and endless fundraisers needed for equipment replacement and building additions. This dedication enabled the company to grow and improve. Charles was instrumental in increasing membership. Along with his friends‚ his father joined‚ and much later his son started as a junior firefighter. Charles’ son is still a member. Today‚ Charles’ grandson shouts‚ ‘Fire call!’ as he pedals his tricycle. If he follows in their footsteps‚ he will be a fourth generation firefighter.

Even though Charles was a volunteer‚ he never treated it as a choice. He was very generous with his time and energy. He responded to calls for search parties‚ house fires‚ brush fires‚ farming incidents‚ medical emergencies‚ flood assistance and vehicle accidents. Being a volunteer in a rural area makes everything too real and too personal. The injured‚ missing‚ homeless‚ and dead are known to you by their name and their face. One may ask‚ ‘Why?’ He enjoyed it. On the lighter side‚ he loved helping Santa‚ showing off the fire truck to the kindergarten students‚ and participating at the fire company fair booth.

Charles was involved in the community in other ways. Everyone seemed to know that they could call on him for help. He was an active church member and a regular visitor to the area hospitals and nursing homes. Charles was a repeat donor to the Red Cross blood drives.

Charles grew up in a loving family. He cared deeply for his wife and was always very proud of his son and daughter. Little grandsons brought him joy during their visits. He passed along his faith‚ his love for the outdoors‚ his willingness to help‚ and his respect for others.

While transporting fire company equipment in 2002‚ he was severely injured in an accident. It left him with a life-threatening condition that soon took his life.

Robert Lee McAtee Sr.

Robert Lee McAtee Sr.

Robert Lee McAtee Sr. was born September 10‚ 1952‚ the son of Loy and Katheryn Liggett McAtee. He attended Webster County schools. He served with the 201st Field Artillery of the West Virginia National Guard for 19 years‚ where he obtained the rank of sergeant 1st class.

On October 3‚ 1970‚ Robert married Caffey Taylor‚ who survives him.

Robert was a 38-year veteran of the Huttonsville-Mill Creek Volunteer Fire Department. At the time of his death‚ his son Rodney was the chief of the department.

Robert served as mayor of the Town of Huttonsville from July 1991 until his death. Before that‚ he had served several terms on the Town of Huttonsville council.

He was the former owner of Huttonsville Exxon. For the last eight years of his life‚ he worked as a full-time school bus driver for Randolph County. He had been a trustee for the Brick Church Cemetery since 1994 and attended the Calvary Assembly of God Church in Valley Head.

Friends and fellow firefighters remembered Robert as an honest man‚ someone who could be counted on both personally and on the scene of emergencies.

In addition to his wife and parents‚ he is survived by his three sons‚ Robert McAtee Jr.‚ Rodney McAtee (Marsha)‚ and Shaun McAtee; his daughter‚ Jennifer McAtee; his two brothers‚ Eugene and Paul McAtee; his sister‚ Mary Marcum; and his grandchildren‚ Alexis‚ Sommer‚ Landon‚ Noah‚ and Braeden. He was a great husband‚ father‚ and grandfather. He was very proud of his grandchildren and loved them unconditionally.

Robert always had a smile on his face‚ and he would always wave when he passed you on the road.

He passed away on January 20‚ 2008‚ after returning home from a chimney fire.

Christopher Michael Jaros

Christopher Michael Jaros

Submitted by his Wife

Christopher Jaros died in an automobile accident en route to the Ceredo Fire Station on April 7‚ 2007. The weather in early April 2007 was unusually cold‚ and the roads were hazardous due to snow. There were several accidents that night‚ and Chris was headed to the station to answer the call for a fatality accident. Unfortunately‚ there was black ice on the bridge he crossed over‚ and he lost control of his truck. He departed this life at the scene.

Chris was a devoted husband to Sara and a loving father to his daughters‚ Lauren‚ Skylar‚ and Taylor. Chris met Sara at the Ramey Home for troubled kids‚ where he was a childcare worker.

Chris joined the Ceredo Volunteer Fire Department in the spring of 2004 and previously served in the Summit-Ironville Volunteer Fire Department. He always enjoyed helping family‚ friends‚ and others‚ which was the impetus for him serving the community through the volunteer fire service. Chris was always ready to do what was needed at the fire department and had forged many strong friendships with fellow firefighters.

Along with serving the Ceredo Volunteer Fire Department‚ Chris was an oven operator at AK Steel‚ where he made his living‚ and was going to be starting a new position the Monday after he died.

Chris enjoyed taking his family on short trips to spend time with them. They liked to go to Gatlinburg‚ Tennessee; zoos; and to take the girls to theme parks. He also liked to golf‚ watch the girls play soccer‚ do some hunting and a bit of camping. He was handy at home improvement and liked the satisfaction of taking something that needed a little renovation and turning it into a much nicer area.

Chris was a born again Christian. He made his profession of faith as a nine-year-old and made certain of his salvation in his later teen years. He had a desire to see people trust Christ as their Savior and for his family to serve the Lord. He started attending Fellowship Baptist Church in early 2007 and joined a few weeks before he died. He had a good testimony after rededicating his life to Christ.

Chris is with the Lord now‚ but in this life‚ he was a good husband‚ loving father‚ a son in whom his parents were well pleased‚ a good provider‚ a loyal friend and a dedicated public servant in the service of the Ceredo Volunteer Fire Department.

Frederick A. Burroughs

Frederick A. Burroughs

Submitted by his Family

Frederick Allen ‘Fred’ Burroughs was killed when a propane gas explosion leveled a convenience store in Ghent‚ WV‚ on Tuesday‚ January 30‚ 2007.

Fred began his firefighting career as a junior fireman at the age of 17. The Ghent Fire Department had just been founded and was campaigning for volunteers. With the lack of anything better to do‚ he began to hang out there. It wasn’t long until firefighting was in his blood. He began taking fire classes and EMT classes and found out he was good at what he did. From driving the trucks‚ to operating the equipment and the pumper‚ to entering a burning building and actually fighting fire‚ to extrication‚ to CPR‚ to management of the department‚ he was eager to learn‚ and he learned quickly. He had a burning desire to make a difference in the lives of others. You see‚ when Fred was 13‚ he lost his dad to a sudden heart attack. With no training in life saving maneuvers‚ he felt helpless…he never forgot the helpless feeling he had that day.

Fred served 33 years as a volunteer with the Ghent Volunteer Fire Department‚ holding positions of EMT‚ sergeant‚ lieutenant‚ captain‚ assistant chief and chief. At the time of his death‚ he was a captain with the department and served as a member of the board of directors. The growth and well being of his department were always in the forefront of his mind. His wife would tease him that he loved that department more than her.

His ‘income producing’ job for five years prior to his death was as a building code inspector for the Raleigh County Code Enforcement Department in Beckley‚ WV.

Fred was a very dedicated family man…tremendously devoted to his wife of 25 years. His son and daughter were his pride and joy‚ and he cherished special times spent with all of them.

Losing a man with Fred’s integrity‚ knowledge‚ talents‚ love of life and family‚ quick wit‚ endearing smile‚ and dedication to his family‚ his department and his community has left a tremendous void in the lives of his wife‚ children‚ mother‚ other family members‚ friends‚ co-workers and fellow firefighters that can never be filled. Volumes could be written about him. His contributions were so many‚ the lives he touched too numerous to mention. We will never know how many lives he was instrumental in saving on that fateful day‚ but his ultimate sacrifice for his fellow man and on behalf of his department is a legacy that will live on forever!

Fred now resides in his heavenly home watching over us all everyday. He is survived by his wife‚ Hazel; son‚ Christopher; daughter‚ Lindsay; and mother‚ Betty.

Craig L. Dorsey II

Craig L. Dorsey II

Submitted by his Mother

Craig L. Dorsey II was born on December 8‚ 1982. He was introduced to the fire department at a very young age. When Craig was finally old enough to actually join the department‚ he became a junior fireman. Craig became a fireman before he was even old enough to drive‚ and when they would get a call he used to ride his bike or run to the fire department. Some would call this dedication‚ but I call this obsession. With some people as they get older that‚ ‘dedication’ tends to wear off‚ but not with Craig it got worse. It seemed like morning‚ noon‚ and night he was at the fire department. He was good at his job and I would say that it was the biggest enjoyment of his life. That was until we had our son in 2005. After Tyler was born‚ Craig was still always at the fire department. The only difference now was that anytime he went to the fire department he always took Tyler with him. This ‘dedication’ was passed on to another generation‚ and to this day Tyler is just as ‘dedicated’ as his father was.

Craig became an Emergency Medical Technician in 2005. He had been working on an ambulance since 2003 as a CPR driver‚ but he really liked being an EMT. He took a lot of pride in this job and did this job extremely well. Craig also became a Mason in 2005. For those who do not know much about the Masons the best way for me to describe them is as a family of brothers who take care of one another. Craig had always been one to do what he could to help someone else‚ so this brotherhood was really good for him. Craig went on and got his 32nd degree and had plans on achieving even more degrees within the Masons.

Craig left for work on January 30‚ 2007 just like any other day. I got to see him before he left never knowing that would be the last time I would ever get to see him. At approximately 10:30 am Craig responded to a gas leak at a local gas station. He got there in time to evacuate all of the customers from the station just before the gas station exploded. The explosion killed Craig and three other gentlemen. Two of which were with the propane service and the other was a fellow firefighter. Craig was killed instantly. We thank God everyday that he did not suffer.

Craig is survived by fianc_e LeeAnne and their son William Tyler Gray Dorsey. He also leaves behind the rest of his family and all of his fire department family and friends. He was greatly loved and will always be remembered as a person who always brought a smile to everyone’s face. Craig may be gone‚ but will never be forgotten. He will live on in the hearts and the lives of those he touched. We love you Craig!!!

Submitted by his Father

Craig Dorsey was killed when a propane gas explosion leveled a convenience store in Ghent‚ West Virginia‚ on Tuesday‚ January 30‚ 2007. Two firefighters and two civilians died in this incident‚ and several others were critically injured.

Craig had been involved in the fire/rescue service since age 14‚ and he served with the department for12 years. He also served with the Coal City Fire Department. He enjoyed being a firefighter and an EMT‚ and that was all he knew. He worked with his father‚ who is a chaplain for the Sophia City Fire Department‚ and his father was inspired by Craig’s ability to do that kind of work. Both of them loved helping people. Craig would always make sure he called his dad to tell him‚ ‘Daddy‚ I had a good call today.’

He was a Mason and a devoted member of the Beckley Masonic Lodge.

Craig is survived by his father and stepmother‚ Craig Dorsey‚ Sr. and Priscilla Dorsey; his mother and stepfather‚ Kathy and Mark Sizemore; and his son‚ Tyler.

We will always remember his smile and the jokes he would pull on people‚ and how he helped people in the community with whatever means he could. He was just an all-around great young man.

I miss him every day and want people to know that he was a tremendous joy in my life.

Michael A. ‘Mikey’ Hart

Michael A. 'Mikey' Hart

Submitted by his wife

Michael A. ‘Mikey’ Hart‚ 33 years of age‚ was a loving husband to Judith A. Hart‚ a loving father to Kelsey and Zachery Hart‚ and a cherished son to Michael L. Hart and Louise Hart. Mikey was not only devoted to his family but also to his life long passion for the fire service‚ to help the people of his community and state. Mikey gave countless hours as a third generation fire fighter‚ and as a paramedic‚ volunteering at the Belington Fire Department for over fifteen years and at the Belington Emergency Squad. Mikey was proud that he and his family‚ including his grandfather‚ Bob Hart‚ his father Michael L. Hart‚ and uncles James ‘Bo’ Hart‚ Phil Hart‚ and Larry Hart‚ thus far had given over a combined 180 years to the fire service. Mikey was also an asset to the professional fire departments of Clarksburg‚ Bridgeport‚ and most recently‚ Elkins‚ in which he worked for over eight years. He was a member and President of I.A.F.F. Local 2652 at the Elkins Fire Department‚ and he took great pride in being reinstated.

Mikey held many certifications some of which included Certified Level III Fire Fighter‚ Certified Driver/Pumper/Operator‚ Certified Fire Service Instructor‚ Certified Rescue Scuba Diver‚ National Registry Paramedic‚ and a Haz Mat Tech where he was a member of the WV Regional Response Team. He developed the current Truck Company Class that is presently being taught through the West Virginia University Fire Service Extension. He sold fire equipment for Mason Dixon Fire Equipment Company out of Maryland. Mikey participated in the making of the movie ‘Ladder 49’ and was excited to tell‚ and show‚ everyone that he‚ his Uncle Phil‚ and members of the Belington VFD were in the last funeral scene. Mikey also gave countless hours towards fire safety education‚ to adults and children of his community. He had many commendations as a fire fighter and a paramedic.

Mikey had such a passion for the fire service. He loved to learn and take classes as much as he enjoyed teaching them. He loved to stay on the cutting edge of technology and to keep up with the latest training. He encouraged all of his brother fire fighters to do so also‚ so that they could better serve their communities. Mikey strived‚ himself‚ to be one of the best of the best in the fire service‚ and to ask anyone that knew him‚ he was. It has been said that Mikey was possibly the most qualified fire fighter in the state of West Virginia. He was a legend in his time‚ not a self proclaimed hero‚ just a man who loved to fight fire and help people‚ as the majority of fire fighters are. One can only imagine what he may have been in another thirty years and what accomplishments he would have made. Indeed‚ he left behind quite a legacy‚ one that we all hope that his son Zac will someday follow.

The one thing about Mikey was‚ although he lived and breathed fire service‚ his family always came first. Mikey loved his wife‚ the kids‚ and all of his close knit family with all of his heart. There will never be any doubt about how much he loved us all. Mikey was the greatest husband‚ father‚ son‚ nephew‚ cousin and friend that one could ever hope to have the pleasure of knowing. He was so proud of his kids. He loved to play with them‚ chase them‚ wrestle with them and even just watch them fall asleep. He was always really good about helping his wife around the house with cooking‚ cleaning‚ laundry and sharing the responsibilities of raising the kids. He proclaimed to himself that he was ‘Mechanic’‚ ‘Plumber’‚ ‘Electrician’‚ ‘Handyman’‚ etc. anytime he fixed something he would laugh and hold his arms up in the air like he’d won something while saying it was fixed!

Mikey enjoyed getting together with his friends and family. He had a zest for life and was well known for his sense of humor. You knew when you were anywhere with him that you’d have a good time as well as a good laugh‚ as he thrived on playing practical jokes on the guys at the fire station.

Mikey took great pleasure in the sports of hunting and fishing‚ and he collected numerous fire trucks and fire novelties. He was a big fan of the series ‘Emergency’ as a little boy and as a young man.

Mikey touched many lives throughout our community and the entire state of WV and surrounding states as well. Whether it was by helping to put out a fire‚ saving a life‚ teaching a class to anyone eager to learn as much as he was‚ or just by his wonderful sense of humor‚ Mikey left a lasting impression. I’m very proud of the man that he was‚ we all are.

Mikey was tragically taken from us on December 20‚ 2005 in a vehicle accident when a tractor trailer struck his vehicle‚ while he was returning from helping his Dad teach a fire fighter 1 class. Gone but not forgotten‚ we’ll remember Mikey every time we see those flashing lights or hear a siren wail. Sadly missed by all‚ he will live in our hearts forever.

Richard A. Fast

Submitted by his daughter

Mr. Fast was a firefighter with Midway VFD for the past 5 years. He also was the supply sergeant for the past 2 years. Mr. Fast was also involved in the Adopt-a-Highway Program. He left behind his mother‚ two sisters‚ one brother‚ one daughter‚ and one son.

Barry D. Lutsy

Submitted by his wife

Barry Lutsy was a 45-year-old loving and dedicated husband‚ dad‚ son‚ brother and true friend. He loved serving the community and helping others. Barry was called home on August 13‚ 2003‚ after being struck by a firetruck after returning to the station.

Barry joined Racine Volunteer Fire Department in Racine‚ West Virginia in 1975. He further served the community by becoming an EMT and winning EMT of the year in 1978.

In May 2003 he brought his sons‚ Jeremy and Justin into the Racine Volunteer Fire Department who like their father have proven to be dedicated to the department and community.

Barry wore two kinds of hats‚ a fireman’s hat and a coal miner’s hat. He was employed as a coal miner for Eastern Coal Company‚ Harris Division and was a member of the UMWA. Barry was also a member of the Church of God for 16 years. He always saw the best in people and tried to keep a positive attitude about things.

He was a well rounded family man. He was dedicated and loving to his wife Debra‚ for 24 years‚ oldest son Jeremy and his wife Rachael‚ his youngest son Justin‚ his mother‚ father‚ brother and sister. Barry considered Jeremy and Justin as his world and he couldn’t have been more proud to see his sons following in his foot steps. Barry was well known for his sense of humor. He was the type of person who could touch you and smile by just walking into the room.

Proving his dedication and love for the fire department‚ Barry once stayed one week at the station due to a snow storm so none of the other firefighters had to risk responding to a call and that proves how Barry always thought of others.

Barry will always be remembered and remain in our hearts.

Clifford A. White Jr.

Clifford A. White Jr.

From his father:

He was really loved by everyone. He loved working and playing with kids. His main goal in life was to help others. He always had a smile for anyone he would meet. He will always be sadly missed by family and friends.

Woodrow Wilson Poland

Submitted by his Family

Woodrow W. Poland‚ Sr.
West Virginia
North River Valley Volunteer Fire Company
Year of Death: 2001

Submitted by his wife

North River Valley Volunteer Fire Company volunteer Woodrow W. Poland died from a fall at the substation being built for NRVVFC at Delray‚ WV.

Woody spent his fifteen years of retirement finishing our retirement home and community service and helping friends.

Woody was one of ten children of Paul H. and Mae Davis Poland‚ born at Rio‚ WV.

Woody served two years in the Army during the Korean War‚ 1951-1953.

Woody attended trade school while working at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington‚ DC as a machinist. In 1963‚ he transferred to NASA in Greenbelt‚ Maryland‚ retiring January 6‚ 1986 as an Engineering Technician‚ moving to Rio the same day.

Woody married Eileen Wilson in 1957. We have three children and five grandchildren.

Woody belonged to the Ebenezer Lutheran Church and served on the church and parish councils and as a trustee of the church. Woody was also a trustee of the cemetery committee. Woody helped finish the new addition added to the church.

Woody was a member of the North River Mountain Hunting Club‚ where he served as president for many years. He enjoyed hunting and fishing.

Woody was a lifetime member of Post 134 American Legion and served as commander and secretary. He helped build a new post home.

Woody belonged to the Modern Woodmen of America and served as treasurer and trustee and did some work on their building.

Woody joined the Rio-Delray Ruritan Club in July 1986 and was a faithful member until his death. He served as secretary‚ vice president‚ president‚ and treasurer. He also served on the county fair board.

Woody spent many Friday and Saturday nights playing card game set back or volleyball with his friends.

Eileen told Woody he was a jack of all trades and a master of none‚ but I have a nice home which was sheetrock and plywood floors when we moved in. Woody was very proud of his family and always ready to help them.

While serving in the NRVVFC‚ Woody held the offices of Vice President (1993) and President (1988-1992 and 1996-2001).

He took the following: Haz-mat Incident Analysis‚ Firefighter I and II‚ Mass Casualty‚ Wilderness Search‚ First Aid‚ and CPR. Woody oversaw the upkeep and maintenance of the fire station and community building. Woody was also the chairman of the substation committee. He was an active member‚ responding to fire calls and search and rescue calls. He was our representative at the county association meetings.

Submitted by his son

Woody Poland…a son…a brother…a brother-in-law…a husband…a father…a father-in-law…a grandfather…an uncle…a best friend…a neighbor…a community leader…a mathematician…a carpenter…a surveyor…a plumber…an electrician…an auto mechanic…a machinist…a builder of houses…a volunteer fireman…a veteran…a teacher…a student…a man of humor…a hunter…a fisherman…a card partner…a volleyball player…a farm worker…a whistler of tunes…a church worker…a baptized child of God…a good and honest man who is loved and will be greatly missed!

Submitted by his friend

What will Rio do without you? is what I’d always say We’ll cross that bridge when it gets here‚ he’d say in the sweetest way.

He always had a saying and they always fit just right; But there was nothing he could have said to prepare me for that night. I stood in a kitchen and the terrible news was told I felt as if a part of me was taken from my soul That bridge when it gets here‚ still echoes in my ears For the dreaded day had come-the bridge was now here. I didn’t want to cross it; he never told me how.

He was gone forever and I felt I needed him more than ever now. Words could not describe the pain I felt within my heart To hear Woody’s no longer with us just tore my world apart. For Woody was the kind of friend so very hard to find A loving‚ caring‚ helpful man‚ truly dear and kind Not once when I needed him was he not there for me That was just the kind of man he was for all his friends and family.

Rio truly had been blessed with this wonderful man you see Electrician‚ plumber‚ handy man the best that there could be He was always willing to lend a hand to any one who would call. If Woody couldn’t fix it then it must not have been broken at all.

He loved to make you laugh and always joked around Rarely was there a day when you’d see Woody with a frown.

From volleyball player‚ ice cream maker‚ to card player most of all The Ace and Deuce are good for five‚ was his favorite call The community never really knew just how much we depended on him Woody Poland-husband‚ father‚ grandfather‚ but most of all FRIEND. There are no words that could ever say how much of a debt we owe.

To Woody‚ one of the greatest men to ever grace Rio That bridge came and we have to cross it somehow‚ in fact you said we would. We are all starting to cross it‚ but forget you we NEVER could. In some small way we want to say Thank You for all you had done. So today we give a little back as we dedicate to Woody-Rio’s Pavilion.

We love and miss you Woody-more than anyone ever could have imagined!

Love All Your Friends.

(Poem written by Tina Fitzwater)