Berwind Vol. Fire Department reaches 37 years as chief, founding member is diagnosed with terminal colon cancer
BERWIND, W.Va. (WVVA) - The Berwind Volunteer Fire Department began after a tragedy in their community.
“We had a family over here in a 2 story house that had two children upstairs and we didn’t have a fire department and they couldn’t get to them and they died and that’s what started the fire department,” said Chief Billy Adams
The department has been serving the area for 37 years and has the largest coverage area in McDowell County. The department are often the first responders for any emergency call in the area due to long distances between communities.
LINDA BRIGHAM// FIREFIGHTER AND DAUGHTER OF FIRE CHEIF
“It’s very important for the families. Time is of the essence,” said Linda Brigham, firefighter and daughter of the chief.
In the fast paced environment the department has become a home away from home for its members.
“Most of those members I’ve known my whole life and have been friends with, related to. We are a big family we love each other,” said Brigham.
The department has grown even closer after learning the news last year that their Chief Billy Adams is suffering from terminal colon cancer.
THE DEPARTMENT HAS GROWN EVEN CLOSER AFTER LEARNING THE NEWS LAST YEAR THAT THEIR CHEIF BILLY ADAMS IS SUFFERING FROM TERMINAL COLON CANCER..
“It’s very heartbreaking because the department had done went through past chiefs. It’s been a sad situation in Berwind,” said Safety Office for the department Jimmy Ellis.
Adams was one of the first three members of the department that has now grown to 22 members. He was selected as chief 2 years ago.
“I mean I didn’t do more than they did you know. I’ve just enjoyed it, being on the fire department. It’s hard to quit,” said Adams
“I think he’s always felt a sense of leadership with them You know teaching and training. He drives the trucks he works on the trucks. Its always been an important part of his life if he’s been able to go he’s went,” said Brigham.
“Never missed a call, always there. first out the door, Bill’s a fine fella you won’t find no better " said Deputy Chief Fred Gayness
Recently the department got a new building which they hope soon hosts new sign-ups to the fire squad. Of the 22 members in the department only 6 are physically able to respond to calls.
Adams hopes to impart his wisdom to the next generation
If you would like to join the Berwind Fire family, they have open meetings every Tuesday at 6pm at their station.
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