For the brotherhood

Published 10:02 am Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Over the past week, the fire and rescue community in Charlotte County has exemplified the meaning of the firefighter brotherhood.

An outpouring of love and supported has been graciously extended to the Keysville Volunteer Fire Department in honor of volunteer fireman Justin Wilmer who died July 4.

Within the firefighter brotherhood, whether members belong to the same fire company or a different one, there is an unspoken rule to look out for one another.

Many departments and agencies in Charlotte County and those in surrounding counties reached out to the Keysville Fire Department members during their time of grief.

I applaud fire departments in the community for coming together as one to memorialize and honor Wilmer.

Friends and family described Wilmer has being a dedicated firefighter who was willing to help others unselfishly.

Friend and fellow department member Patricia Gangloff Reamer said Wilmer “would do anything he could to help people and friends.”

The number of lives he touched during this 33 years on earth is evident.

Appropriate for such camaraderie among the departments is a famous quote from Susan Diane Murphree: “Firemen never die, they just burn forever in the hearts of the people whose lives they saved.”

I believe success is not measured by the amount of money or prestige a person can obtain, but the difference they make in the lives of those around them.

Wilmer left a lasting impression on the fire community and I send my sympathy to the family and brothers and sisters of the departments.

As a small close-knit community, the lasting bonds and friendships formed can be the greatest support system available.

At the end of the day, the brotherhood is all united as one, regardless of department affiliation. This level of unity is an essential part of working together, as well as fostering bonds that will last a lifetime. 

Italia Gregory is community editor of The Gazette. Her email address is