- Last Updated on 07:54 AM 01/02/13
- BY The Gazette-Virginian
He’s been fighting fires for well over a half of century, and earlier this month Halifax volunteer firefighter H. L. “Pete” Myers was recognized for his 55 years of dedicated firefighting service in Halifax County.
During its annual holiday banquet, the Halifax Volunteer Fire Department members said thank you to its longest serving member.
“How did we get someone special like Pete?” asked former Halifax Volunteer Fire Department Chief H. C. Phillips Sr.
“We were very lucky to have had him serve the people of Halifax County for the past 55 years. The Halifax Volunteer Fire Department is a much better department because of what he has contributed to us. To just say thank you Pete will never be enough,” Phillips added.
Myers’ firefighting career began in 1957 when he helped organize the Liberty Volunteer Fire Department.
Myers recalled helping the Liberty Volunteer Fire Department organize when they purchased for $45 from civil defense a 1938 International pumper with a front end pump.
Members of the newly formed Liberty Volunteer Fire Department also bought a 600-gallon tanker from Clover Volunteer Fire Department for $300.
According to Phillips, in 1958 the department built a two bay fire station at a cost of $5,000.
“In those days the county only gave each fire department $300, so the members had to raise the rest of the money going door to door begging and selling stew,” Myers recalled.
In 1960, they purchased a 1948 pumper with high-pressure pump paying $1,000 for the truck.
“High pressure was the real thing in those days,” Myers added.
In 1978 Myers joined the Halifax Volunteer Fire Department, while retaining his membership in the Liberty Department until 1984.
For six years he ran calls with both departments.
Phillips recalled those days back in the 70s and 80s saying, “Back in those days we ran a bunch of fire calls. In 1979 we had over 100 fire calls in 90 days.
“One day we ran four house fires, and two were fully involved when we arrived. I think Pete was at every one of them. He got out of bed on many a cold night and missed many of his wife’s (Francis’) good hot meals to help save the lives and property of people in Halifax County,” Phillips added.
Myers was the main Halifax Volunteer Fire Department truck operator for many years, and according to Phillips, “He could do most anything with the truck. Although the one thing he just could not seem to do was back it up.”
Myers’ two sons also joined him in the line of providing fire service to friends and neighbors.
Danny Lee was a member of Liberty, and Steve was in Halifax Volunteer Fire Department and worked on the rescue squad.
Fellow firefighter Holt Mills recalled Myers as “being the youngest old man he had ever worked with.”
Mills said Myers must have slept in his pickup truck because he was the first one to sign on most of the time.
One year, Richard Dunavant even gave Myers a ball and chain (as a joke) to slow him down, Phillips said.
Myers, who turned 89 on July 3, continued to go on calls until he turned 75.
“Not only was he a firefighter, but he also was a first responder for years,” Phillips said.
In addition, Myers has held many different offices in the Halifax Volunteer Fire Department.
According to other Halifax Volunteer Fire Department firefighters, between Myers and Phillips, the two have probably run more fire calls than anyone else has or ever will in the county.
Myers said he has met many nice people and made many friends during his years of volunteer fire service.
He expressed his appreciation to all the firefighters and other persons who have been so kind to him and worked with him through his half century in the firefighting business.