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You are here: Home Opinion Paula I. Bryant PAULA I. BRYANT: A legacy of service continues

PAULA I. BRYANT: A legacy of service continues

On Thursday it will have been four years since one of Halifax County’s most faithful servants and finest citizens died from injuries received while driving along I-40 in North Carolina.

The family of Alex Williamson is keeping his memory alive along with his sense of dedication to his fellow man as evidenced Sunday afternoon when his wife, Betty, and children Amanda and John donated much needed equipment and supplies to the county’s 12 fire departments.  

In an ironic twist of fate, this man who put himself in harms’ way for over three decades fearlessly fighting fires and protecting property and limb, was snatched from this earth in an incomprehensible freak accident.

Four years ago, the Lord saw fit to call his servant home, but Alex’s lifelong devotion to helping others through his work with the Virginia Department of Forestry and various fire departments in the county lives on today as firefighters use this donated equipment to continue saving life and property. 

Whenever fire threatened Halifax County’s vast woodlands, Alex was right there working to save trees and vegetation. Today his family is carrying on his legacy by making it possible for our volunteer firefighters to continue this service in communities protected by these 12 county fire departments.

Ever since we can remember, we knew Alex as a friend and distant cousin. And anytime you heard someone speak of him, it was always a kind word because he was just that type of man.

Alex served his country in Vietnam as a member of the United States Air Force from 1968 until 1972. He went to work for the Virginia Department of Forestry in September of 1974 and worked there until his death, serving as chief forester for Halifax County for many years.

Alex was a lifetime member of the Turbeville Volunteer Fire Department and was an honorary member of the South Boston Fire Company, as well as other fire departments. He trained firefighters and assisted departments with obtaining funding and equipment through grants.

Now four years after his untimely passing, Alex’s family is seeing to it that this legacy of service lives on.

Alex always was a welcome sight at the newspaper office, and we have truly missed his visits over the past four years. He often would bring things to us that he needed to run in the paper regarding burning laws or something forestry related. And he’d always treat it as if we were doing a favor for him. 

“I’ve got a favor to ask,” he’d say when he popped into the door to bring us some forestry news to publish. And his pleasant, outgoing personality made it our pleasure to do so.

Over the past four years, all those who knew and loved him have continued to miss Alex’s broad smile and willingness to help anyone in need. 

Men who give so much to others are the exception rather than the rule in this day and time, and Alex was one of those. 

Our community is fortunate Alex’s wife and children are continuing to keep “his flame” burning. 

(Smokey Bear would get a kick out of that pun.)