Remembering A Fallen Hero

It was a touching memorial service Sunday afternoon at the State Cultural Center in Charleston as many gathered to honor a fallen firefighter.

Davis Creek-Ruthdale Volunteer Firefighter Joseph “Joey” King died on December 4, 2011 while investigating a fire in Charleston. He fell off a bridge while looking for a fire.

“It was a beautiful ceremony to honor firefighter Joe King,” said Davis Creek-Ruthdale Volunteer Fire Department Fire Chief Jeff Snodgrass.

Snodgrass said Joey was one of his best friends and a great guy.

“He was a wonderful person and a helping person,” said Snodgrass. “Not just in the emergency services, but along the street he would stop and help anybody that needed help. He was a friend to the community and a friend to just everybody.”

Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper said the ceremony wasn’t only a time to honor King, but also a time to honor all firefighters, full-time and volunteer.

“Without our volunteer firefighters there would be a lot of grief and suffering. They save lives every day and we should thank them,” said Carper. “It was just an opportunity to remember Joey King and the sacrifice he made, the ultimate sacrifice, but to remember all our firefighters.”

The ceremony featured special music and comments from representatives of Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, House of Representative Shelly M. Capito, and Senator Joe Manchin, all of whom were unable to make the ceremony.

Joey’s sister Arietta King said it was a special time for her family.

“It means a lot. It was really great,” said Arietta. “Joey lost his life protecting people and his community and I think it’s amazing what they are doing for Joey, the family, for all the firefighters.

Arietta remembers Joey as someone who took his job seriously, but also knew when to have a good time. She said he was a funny guy.

Family members took time towards the end of the ceremony to place roses on the Fallen Firefighter Memorial located on the plaza of the Cultural Center. Wreaths were also placed around the memorial in memory of Joey and all firefighters who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

Carper said it was a solemn occasion, but also one of remembrance and joy.

The ceremony concluded with the playing of Amazing Grace and A Fireman’s Prayer.

Governor Tomblin proclaimed Sunday to be Fallen Firefighters Memorial Day in the Mountain State.

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