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In memory of Alex Williamson, firemen gain equipment

Alex Williamson’s commitment to county volunteer firefighters is continuing to be felt four years after his passing.

Fire chiefs and firemen representing the 12 county fire departments came together Sunday afternoon at South Boston Fire Department to remember the late William Alexander “Alex” Williamson who was a lifetime member of Turbeville Volunteer Fire Department and an honorary member of South Boston Fire Company and other county fire departments.  

His wife, Betty O’Brien Williamson, and children Amanda Griles and John Williamson presented each department with various firefighting equipment that fulfills their “wish lists.”  

Donated equipment includes chainsaws, Scotty foam sticks, cartridges, rakes, forestry nozzles, chaps, a backpack leaf blower, collapsible brush pack and a class A foam stick. 

“We are so pleased that each fire department was able to order the equipment needed to fight fires effectively and efficiently,” said the late Williamson’s wife, Betty, who appreciated her husband’s devotion to his job as chief forestry technician. 

“These fire departments operate 24/7 with an extremely limited budget. When emergencies occur, these firefighters should be well trained and well equipped. We are so thankful this fund allowed these departments to fulfill their ‘wish lists.’” 

Alex Williamson of Alton passed away Saturday, March 13, 2010, at North Carolina Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem after suffering injuries from a tragic accident. He was born in Halifax County on Sept. 21, 1950 and was 59 years old.

Williamson and his wife were driving on Interstate 40 in North Carolina when a metal object crashed through his windshield and struck Williamson as he drove. His wife was not injured. 

Many remember the Air Force veteran as having worked with the Virginia Department of Forestry as chief forestry technician since Sept. 16, 1974. He also is remembered for his Smokey Bear school visits, educating children about the dangers of fire. 

A member of Calvary United Methodist Church, he was also member of American Legion Post 8 and VFW Post 8243. He was a member of the Farm Bureau Board of Directors, an honorary member of the FFA and a member of the Department of Forestry Honor Guard.

Since his passing, Williamson’s wife has worked to raise money for the Alex Williamson Memorial Fund. 

After collecting funds from the county and surrounding counties, Lt. Daniel Clark and Fire Chief Steve Phillips worked diligently with each fire department to see what equipment was needed and helped purchase the equipment.  

Williamson says her husband had a “special place in his heart for firefighters” and would be “elated” to know this equipment was given. 

“I’m sure if Alex could have written a check to each fire department, he would have,” said Williamson. 

Williamson said she would like to encourage everyone to support his or her local fire departments in any way possible.

“Without these men and women’s expertise, knowledge and commitment, we would all be experiencing monumental catastrophes,” said Williamson.  

Williamson also wanted to show her appreciation for everyone who made “this dream become a reality.”  

“A special thanks goes to each firefighter who puts themselves in harm’s way so that we may live in a protected and comforting community. Their hard work, dedication and loyalty, in my opinion, make them true heroes,” Williamson concluded.