CEREMONIES HONOR FIREFIGHTERS
POSTED MONDAY, April 20, 2009
WRITER: Abe Hardesty
PHOTOGRAPHER: Heidi Heilbrunn
PUBLISHED: April 20, 2009
SECTION: Local News
PAGE NUMBER: A2
Two longtime Greenville firefighters were remembered by the Wade Hampton Fire & Sewer District in separate ceremonies Sunday afternoon.
District commissioners formally renamed Station 1 (2815 Wade Hampton Boulevard), W.M. "Bill" Edwards Station, in honor of the man who helped organize the Wade Hampton Fire District in 1954 and served it until his retirement in 1980.
Edwards, who served as a volunteer or at a minimal salary for most of those years, died in 1996.
Later in the day, the station at 1112 Pelham Road was renamed in honor of the late R.B. "Rudy" Singleton, who was its first employee and served in the organization from 1958 until his retirement in 1992.
Retired Captain Curt McCain was among the speakers at the dedication of the Edwards Station. Retired chief Gary Downey spoke to the crowd at the Singleton Station.
Former volunteer Otis Coggins said Edwards spearheaded the drive to build water lines in the Wade Hampton District in 1954 and the effort to add fire protection in 1958. Coggins calls Edwards "one of the hardest-working men I've ever seen in my life."
Singleton helped increase the district's protective capability from one truck, one station, and one employee to forty-five employees, three stations, four engines and two ladder trucks. He also led the department from a Class 10 insurance rating to its current Class 2 rating. Wade Hampton was the first special-purpose district in South Carolina to receive a Class 2 rating.
Wade Hampton Fire District officials unveiled photos to the families of the men in ceremonies Sunday. State Representative Dan Hamilton presented resolutions passed by the South Carolina House of Representatives to commemorate the events and honorees.
NOTE: A photo gallery from THE GREENVILLE NEWS is available from http://tinyurl.com/cn5k5s. Video of FOX Carolina's coverage is available at http://vimeo.com/4242178.