Hank Pfister is retiring after 25 years on the job. Hank was hired January 1, 1985 (that is the date I have). He was one of the original EMS Department Paramedics. Hank is a beloved member of our department and has an affinity for motorcycles!
Hanks last assignment was Station 4 A-shift.
Ricky Troutt has retired from the Roanoke Fire-EMS Department after 34 years on the job. Ricky was hired on December 15, 1975 and I believe his last day on the books is December 15, 2009 (although he has already worked his last day).
Ricky obtained the rank of Battalion Chief and his last assignment was on the Northside on A-Shift.
Ricky and his wife own Iron Sports Custom Cycles. His son Adam is a firefighter with Roanoke Fire-EMS as well.
Congratulations Chief, if I win the lotto I will hit you up for a custom chopper!
Roger Markham has retired after 25 years on the job. Roger began his career with the Roanoke Fire Department on October 2, 1984. Roger’s last assignment was on A-shift at Station 14.
Here is the thing about Roger…I hardly knew him and he hardly knew me. I can remember awkward silence when he walked into the Credit Union the first couple of times when I was there because he didn’t know my name and I didn’t know his. We got over it, but still rarely saw each other.
Anyways, here is to a long and healthy retirement Roger!
This is all I know right now….
James Firebaugh and Terry King were promoted to Battalion Chiefs.
Firebaugh will go to Northside BC on A-shift. Saunders will be the Southside BC on A-shift.
I have not heard where the others will be moved to.
Let me know if you hear more.
If anyone has any photos to share, information to share, or stories to share in the posts please get them to me ASAP. I am working on posts for the retirements we have had recently!!
I have finally created a fan page on facebook for the Roanoke Fire Blog….
There is a great write-up in todays paper on the new football team (Roanoke Rampage). I cannot imagine that a huge story above the fold on Thanksgiving won’t help spread the word. Looking good guys. I can’t wait to be there at the game with maroon and orange paint on my bare chest….I just need a few more to spell out R-A-M-P-A-G-E!!!
Story by Amanda Codospoti
Phillip Dillon limped to the sidelines.
“Ah. I pulled — a delicate muscle, shall I say?”
The 45-year-old Roanoke fire captain walked off his injury and was soon back in the huddle with his teammates, several former college football players and a former professional football player among them.
Monday was the third time that the Roanoke Rampage, a newly formed, minor league football team, has practiced.
The players are all firefighters, police officers and sheriff's deputies throughout the Roanoke and New River valleys, and the team is one of 25 in the National Public Safety Football League, which was established 12 years ago.
The Rampage's season begins in April.
Continue reading…. New public safety football team snaps to it – Roanoke.com.
Here is the list of new hires for Roanoke City. Ole Willie states that he got his updated first…NOT A CHANCE. If he had taken the time to notice, I have had this post online since yesterday. That is right. I got a hold of the list prior to the guys/gals even getting a call. Just look at the date and time of the posting of this blog post. I had it posted yesterday at 1700 hours. Does anyone even read his blog? * denotes ALS certification.
A. Helems *
Eat your heart out Willie!!! Stealth mode has been enabled and I have once again flown under the radar.
It has been busy for Roanoke firefighters recently. After the funerals for Chris Brown, Warren Hawley, and Stick Walters, firefighters found themselves settling back into the grind.
- There have been several fires in the area
- Roanoke County’s new Station 1 opened up
- County Ladder 5 was wrecked and is being fixed
- Station 1 was hit by a car
- Cluster meetings….they should really rename those!
- City is going through interviews
- Battalion Chief promotions coming up next week maybe
- Lt, 1st Lt., and Captain promotional testing happening soon
C-shifts last day was a fun one! Captain Wines writes about Todd “multi-media” Harris on Engine 9 blog! Needless to say that no one likes an open mic! We tested the hose on Engine 13 and had help from Engine 9 and Engine 2 packing it back on the truck. The process took most of the day while running calls in between.
In the middle of the day we ran a call for a vehicle vs. building! This time the vehicle won. Someone decided to turn Domino’s pizza into a drive thru! Thanks to Engine 5 and Medic 2 for the assistance. A little bit different outcome than when the car lost when it ran into station 1 here. All of the fun ended with a Haz Mat response to Lexington for a fuel spill. There is nothing quite like transferring to another station at 1am to fill in! No big deal though….
Yesterday and today I had the pleasure of meeting up with a true fire history buff. Tommy Herman lives in Chesterfield County. He is a retired Richmond firefighter and a long time volunteer at Ettrick station 13 in Chesterfield County.
Tommy had reached out to me a while back and had called a couple times when he made it to town. This time we were able to meet up. Tommy is a foremost authority on Oren apparatus and the company itself. He has a book coming out in the spring on Oren apparatus and it has several Roanoke Trucks in it. I got to peruse the draft of the book and I cannot wait to thumb through my own copy.
Tommy had some great stories. It was amazing how he knew all the people I had contacted, tried to find, or had heard of when I was writing “Firefighting in Roanoke”. He left me two large files to look through and scan. We went to dinner last night and afterwards I took the time to scan everything. I scanned from 8-12 last night.
Needless to say, Tommy knows a lot. He knows about Roanoke FD, REMS, Oren, Seagrave, ALF, you name it. Hell, he knew Maurice Wiseman too. Willie mentioned my meeting and some news about other Orens here.
One thing he said stood out…He commented on how Roanoke is so quick to get rid of stuff. I couldn’t agree more. Of all the great firetrucks we have had over the years, what do we have to show for it? Squad 1, a couple other rusted trucks hoping for refurb. So many great trucks are gone forever. I realize we can’t keep everything, but at least hand it off to someone who cares.
One thing Tommy was able to do that I wasn’t even thinking about was rekindling my curiosity of our history. He got me thinking about that second book and maybe the complete history book. He got me thinking about continuing to find out history, reclaim OUR artifacts, and move forward.
And with that, I shall set back out on my quest. I just ask anyone who has any images to share please let me know. I have asked in the past and not gotten much of a response. The process is simple…you get me the photos, I scan them or copy them, I get them back to you. If I use them in the future you get credit.
For now I will leave you with this little teaser of some of the images I got from Tommy. You will see more in the future!!! Feel free to chime in and comment on the trucks if you want.
The family of William Gerald Walters, Jr. would like to thank each and every one of you for the many kindnesses shown during this last year after Jerry suffered his stroke in September 2008. He was making such progress and we felt he was going to be okay, but that wasn’t meant to be. God had other plans and on September 23, 2009, called him home.
Jerry loved the fire department and looked forward to hearing from fellow firemen, many of whom were retired like him. Our thanks to you for always staying in touch with him and encouraging him. Thank you for your visits to the hospital, telephone calls, and your prayers during this very difficult time. They will never be forgotten.
We cannot say enough about the honor guard and this special tribute to him. Our hearts were touched by the beautiful ceremony at the cemetery, the folding of the flag and presentation to his wife, Judy, the tolling of the bells, and let’s not forget the fire truck and rescue vehicle standing at attention as we entered the cemetery. This will remain with us forever.
May God bless each of you and keep you safe as you work to protect your fellow man.
Again, I thank you for posting this for us.
Diana Woods, Jerry’s sister
Captain Chris Brown was laid to rest yesterday. I have included text, links, video, and photos from yesterday. Please let me know of other stories to add. If you would like to add any photos you may send them in as well.
Note: I previously falsely noted that Chris had been posthumously promoted to BC.
Chris Brown passed away unexpectedly after he became ill after working a 24 hour shift on Wednesday, October 21, 2009 and was then diagnosed with cancer. Chris passed away in the evening of the 22nd at Roanoke Memorial with his family at his side. Chris was a Captain assigned to station 1 on C-shift and an IAFF Local 1132 member. He was 44 years old at the time of his death. He is survived by “his girls” who are his wife, Stephanie, and their two daughters Caroline, 16 and Hannah, 11.
Chris and his family dedicated their lives to the City of Roanoke. Chris was a second-generation firefighter following in his father’s footsteps. Chris’ father, Clarence Wayne Brown (deceased) retired from the department in 1989. His brother, Mark, also followed the same path and currently serves as the Lieutenant on engine 5 C-shift. His mother, Marquita Brown retired from the Roanoke City Occupational Health Clinic as an RN.
Chris was hired into the Roanoke Fire Department, now Roanoke Fire-EMS Department, on August 2, 1994. He worked in the company prior to attending his recruit school which he attended with eight other members in 1995. His first assignment as firefighter placed him in one of the busiest companies in the city at the time, old station #3 located at 6th and Rorer SW. He served on C-shift Southside under the command of Battalion Chief Pat Taylor (retired / deceased) and Captain Kenny Watson (retired / deceased). He had the honor of serving with men such as Lt. Randy Obenchain (retired), Firefighter William Humbert (now Lt. Station #7C), Firefighter /EMT Matt Dewhirst (now Capt. #7B) and Firefighter/ Paramedic Kent McIlhany (now captain #8 B). This assignment placed Chris on the scene of many of the most memorable incidents in Roanoke’s recent history. He would later be transferred to Station #6 C with Capt. Eddie Carter (retired), Lt. Rory Lee (retired) who was replaced by Lt. Willie Wines Jr. (Capt. #9C), Firefighter Adam Fleming, and Firefighter/Paramedic Marci Stone (resigned) and Firefighter/Paramedic Hank Pfister. From there, Chris would make the rank of Lieutenant and serve at Station #11C where he would remain with Captain Carter until his transfer back to his beloved station #3. At home again on 6th and Rorer, Chris worked under Captain Terry King (now station #7C) and began his watch over members such as Firefighter/Paramedic Justine Hines (AKA “57” resigned), Gracey Wirt Humbert (resigned, now part time), Firefighter/Paramedic Jason Crouch (now Lt. #7A) and Firefighter/EMT Adam Fleming (now Station #1C). Chris continued to climb the “promotional ladder” and soon made 1st Lieutenant. This assignment moved him to Station #7C under Captain Dale Barker (now Battalion Chief C-North). From there, Chris would make Captain and take command of his first company in the department headquarters Station #1 C-shift under his long time friend and mentor Battalion Chief Jeff Beckner.
Undoubtedly, his past assignments and co-workers made a huge impact on Chris’ life and career. In the early years, he was known as a “bull”. Always eager and willing to perform his duties and would let nothing get in his way. He grew and developed into a stern but understanding Captain. He has passed along his knowledge and experiences to his men and has molded them into one of the most respected companies within the department. Chris was known for his abilities and leadership style. He has excelled in every aspect of his life, from the job, to his family, Chris has shown devotion.
Every member who has worked with or around Chris will hold their own special memories. Memories of his firm hand shakes, his ear to ear smile, his hyperactive approach and his unforgettable pride will be remembered by all who knew him. Although the department was important to Chris his first love which he showed openly was to “Steph” and “the girls” as he called them. No matter what was happening, when Stephanie, Caroline and Hannah made one of their many visits to the station, Chris’ smile remained but the hyperactivity turned to calm which would let everyone around him know that his happiness had arrived.
Captain Chris Brown will be remembered and missed by all, both his immediate family and his fire department brothers and sisters. His dedication to both should be an example to those he leaves behind.
Matthew 23: 11-12 “The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself with be exalted. “
May you rest in peace oh brother of ours, called for a higher duty in the kingdom of Heaven. Well done lad, well done!
The Poem below was written by Justin Heinz and first appeared in the comments section of “Captain Chris Brown” here on RoanokeFire.com. The poem was recited at Brown’s funeral.
Chris Brown- He will be riding that Grumman in the sky. On earth, you couldn’t find a better guy.
In the hay loft he did sleep. So many memories from 3, I will keep. On his coat tail, we did ride. He and Terry King taught us to fight fire with pride. He spoke of iron men and wooden ladders from RFD’s past. A flag spelling; Honor and Bravery flew from E 3’s mast. Those words fit Chris to a “T”.
Some of him, helped mold me. He was a family man that is for sure. Dedicated, honest, and he had a heart that was pure. There are so many stories that I would like to share. “Hunker Down”, “Bap Bap” and the 9 p.m. stare.
In closing I must say, “Iron Man” should go under his name.
He will be missed. The world won’t be the same.
Links to stories on Chris Brown
- Brotherhood Indeed - A great post about the events and who helped! From Engine 9′s Blog
- In Memory of Captain Chris Brown – The Big Show
- Reception honors life of Roanoke Fire Captain
- Roanoke firefighter dies of brain tumor
- Photos on RoanokeFirefighters.com
- Roanoke firefighters pay tribute to fallen brother
- Roanoke firefighter remembered
- Captain Chris Brown – original story with photos on RoanokeFire.com
- View comments on RoanokeFire.com (scroll down)
- View comments on Chris’s guestbook (roanoke.com up to 17 pages as of writing)
Videos of coverage on Chris’s Funeral below
This is a reminder that Warren “Calhoun” Hawley will be buried on Tuesday, October 27th. Please attend if you can at the Peters Creek Oakey’s North.
If you have photos, video, text, or anything else you would like to share about Captain Chris Brown please send it in. I will be working on a post for tomorrow with images from his funeral. Send them to email@example.com.
I must say that I was overwhelmed today by a couple of things
- The amount of Roanoke County and Salem Firefighters who were willing to work for the City guys so we could attend the funeral.
- The Honor Guard is always amazing. Great job guys! Very tight!
- The amount of firefighters from outside the Valley. Thank you for coming to celebrate Chris’ life.
To all those who had anything to do with the events today, you did a great job!
The arrangements for Warren Hawley are as follows:
The viewing is Monday October 26, Oakey’s North (Peter’s Creek) 2-4 PM & 6-8 PM
The funeral is Tuesday October 27, Oakey’s North (Peter’s Creek) at 10 AM and the procession will be to Sherwood Memorial Park in Salem following the service.
This image was taken 3 or 4 years ago at Station 10. He was a regular there and loved to stop by to talk about old times.
Visitation will be Sunday at the Oakeys funeral home on RT 604/ Cloverdale road from 14:00-16:00 and 18:00- 20:00.
Dress is class B uniform if you are on duty. Dress is Union t-shirt, jeans, and black day boots.
The funeral will be held at 1st Baptist church downtown Roanoke at 13:00 on Monday.
Grave site will be Evergreen cemetery.
Dress is class A uniform.
The dress attire has been requested by the Brown Family.
First of all, if you are able/willing/want to work on Monday so that others (B-shifters) may go to the funeral please contact Captain Trussler at 2B. Just to put it into perspective for you…some people who were close with Chris might not be able to go because they are working. If you are a newer guy, take your lumps and offer to work on monday so that others can to to the funeral. It will only be for a couple hours. I remember taking my lumps when BC Tyree died. I worked for J.J. Price so that he could go to the funeral. I did it for free.
Warren “Calhoon” Hawley Passed Away
It is with deep sadness that I inform you of Warren Hawley’s passing. Warren aka Calhoun or Floor Board (for the way he drived) died of a heart attack earlier today. Warren retired back in 1984? I will have a better write-up, some photos, and the arrangments when I can get to them. Warren was a friend of mine and helped me with the book Firefighting in Roanoke. His mind was a steel trap!
Updated with funeral arrangements (15:27hrs):
Visitation will be Sunday at the Oakeys funeral home on RT 604/ Cloverdale road from 14:00-16:00 and 18:00- 20:00
The funeral will be held at 1st Baptist church downtown Roanoke at 13:00 on Monday.
Grave site will be Evergreen cemetery.
It is with a very heavy heart that I inform you of the passing of Captain Chris Brown. Chris was hired on August 2, 1994 and was the Captain at Station 1 on C-Shift. He was a second generation firefighter. His brother Mark is the Lt. on Engine 5 C-Shift and his father (deceased) retired from the department as a firefighter. His mother retired from the Roanoke City Occupational Health Clinic as an RN. Needless to say, his family has dedicated their lives to the City of Roanoke.
Please continue praying for his family, friends, and brother and sister Firefighters. Numerous Roanoke Firefighters have been placing the news and condolences on facebook as well.
The Captain had a very tight knit family at Station 1 as well as at home. You can read about his crew at station 1 on their blog here. I will add more information as it becomes available.
I have attached photos from the past years. They are from Station 1 Blog, RoanokeFirefighters.com (Mike Overacker), Maurice Wiseman, and other photographers. Click on the image for the full size view.
As I am sure that many of you are looking for updates on the condition of Chris Brown, I am willing to share bits here and there when I can. I am NOT a point of contact for the family, therefore I will not disclose everything I hear. I will more than likely be posting information after there is plenty of time for the information to be disseminated other ways. This will ensure that I am giving truthful updates.
I spoke with Chris’ mother earlier and she told me that he was given an EEG. The results have not been disclosed to the family yet. There is approximately 50 friends, family members, and firefighters in the waiting room on the 9th floor of Neuro-Trauma ICU. The last time I checked in was approximately 2pm.
Most of all, we need to continue to keep Chris and his family in our thoughts and prayers. Everyone is going through a tough time.
If in deed you would like an update. Please email me with your phone number and I will call you back (firstname.lastname@example.org). My phone number is published on my Facebook page if you would like to call as well.
Update on Dave Palmer: I also spoke with Dave Palmer today. He is doing better and was heading over for his first treatment today. I spoke with him around 2pm and dropped of a DVD player and some DVD’s. If you want, you could drop him off some DVD’s too.
I will be heading out of town to Nashville in the morning (Friday). I will be available and will be checking on Chris’ status.
We have a Captain who is in need of prayers. Not only him, but his family too. I stopped by RMH earlier tonight to speak with his brothers who congregated there. He is in a fight for his life and needs prayers. He is in the ICU on the 9th floor currently although he cannot have visitors directly. However, his family, friends, and brothers are there and hanging out in the hallway and waiting room.
Say an extra prayer tonight for our Brother.
I saw Dave Palmer tonight. He is in good spirits and is recuperating. He has a long haul in front of him. You should take a minute to stop in and say hello. I think he would love some movies (DVD’s) if you would like to drop one off. Dave’s wife has been hanging out by his side and his mother has been helping watch the children.
Drew Abel and his wife are at RMH as well. They just welcomed a brand new baby into the World a couple days ago. From what I understand they are all doing well. I would have stopped in, but it was late and I didn’t want to bother them.
In case you guys didn’t realize, Cory D. Craighead passed away the other day. I hesitated to comment on his death due to being on the call and HIPPA laws.
Cory was our MDA Ambassador for Local 1132 several years ago. The first time I met him he was still walking. Soon after he started relying more and more on a wheelchair to get around. Over the years I lost touch with him and his parents. However, Local 1132 continued to raise money along with the IAFF for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
Cory’s battle with MDA ended the other day and he was buried today. He was a blessed little guy and is in a better place now. He will be missed.
At the hospital, his father told me that Cory stated all he wanted for his funeral was a firetruck in the procession. From what I am told we made this happen. Rodney Jordan got the engine there and the Salem Firefighters offered an extra special showing at the cemetary. They put Ladder 1 in the air and stood at attention. Great job guys. Way to show them that we care.
This has got to be a joke. Apparently, one of Roanoke County’s Chiefs has said that any County firefighters who are hurt playing football for the team being established will be let go once they run out of time.
I sure hope that this is a joke.
What if someone gets hurt doing something else? What if a firefighter is injured in a vehicle accident? Playing soccer? Gets hit by a meteor?
You get my point. What are the past practices for extended injury/illness in the County. Is this normal consequences for being unable to work and running out of time?
Any County FF’s want to give me their point of view?