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Christiansburg Vol. Fire Department dedicates ladder truck, artwork to members who died

Published: Oct. 25, 2020 at 6:27 PM EDT
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CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - A new fire truck is helping keep the memory of four Christiansburg Volunteer Firefighters alive. Those four members all died separately, but shared a passion for protecting their community.

The 100-foot ladder truck has an assortment of tools needed to help fight fires, plus artwork dedicated to the four members who died.

“Very, very nice, very emotional of course, and trying to choke back tears of joy, thought it was really neat how this thing reaches towards the heavens," Wes Epperly said.

Wes Epperly’s dad, Jimmy, was a former chief of the department, and he died last year. He always wore cowboy hats, so the hat on the Cookie Monster artwork on the truck is for Jimmy, while the rest of the design is made for the other three men - Firefighter Lee Cochran, Firefighter/EMT Brian Horne and Fire Senior Engineer Roy Redd.

“[Jimmy] was a gentleman who was born 200 years too late; he was a cowboy. One of his favorite things to do was to watch westerns and also be on fire trucks," Wes said.

The department dedicated the truck and the artwork to their former members in a ceremony held Sunday, and invited the family of the four who died late in 2018 and early 2019.

“The families of all of our firefighters are our extended family. They’re the ones who go without us when we’re out here doing our job," said Billy Hanks, Fire Chief and Fire Marshall of the Christiansburg Volunteer Fire Department.

Wes said he has always felt like a part of the firefighter family, and the dedication means a lot to him - and his dad, if he were here.

“He would be extremely honored and he probably would be crying right now for sure but I think he’s definitely here with us," Wes said.

Taxpayer money went to this truck, which is worth around $1.5 million.

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