Longevity is hard to achieve in the fire service. The work, whether done by a volunteer or paid professional, is hard on the body—harder still on the mind and spirit.
A good number of volunteers might make it to 20 years, but not many make it to 30 or 40 or 50 years. The late Roland Wilson, who was an active volunteer with Mathews Volunteer Fire Department, was one of those who lasted.
Roland Wilson was the first member of the Mathews Volunteer Fire Department to serve on active duty for 60 years. A respected leader in the department, he ended up serving 63 years before he passed away in 2016.
According to Kenny Garrett, vice president of MVFD, Wilson was the first volunteer with the department to achieve 60 years of service, and he continued serving until his death three years later, on Oct. 12, 2016. During his time with the department, Wilson was the Fire Chief twice and served was Station 1 Captain for many years.
Wilson lived and breathed the fire department, serving ...
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