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Amherst County community remembers life of veteran Monelison Fire and Rescue member

Published: Jan. 5, 2021 at 5:30 PM EST
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MADISON HEIGHTS, Va. (WDBJ) - Inside the Monelison Rescue Squad building sits a picture - a memory of Bob Hopkins.

“One of the things he did thousands of times was make sure the equipment was there,” said Gary Roakes, former Monelison Rescue Squad captain and Amherst County Public Safety director, referencing a picture of Hopkins checking equipment.

Hopkins was a 35-year veteran of Monelison Fire and Rescue and a great friend to Roakes.

“We started serving the community together and then more importantly to me, we became friends over the years,” said Roakes.

A friend Roakes and the community are now missing.

Hopkins died of coronavirus January 2.

His passing has men like Roakes and Jimmy Ayers reflecting on how he impacted the area.

“He was always there and he was always open to whatever needed to be done,” said Ayers, former Monelison Rescue Squad member and Amherst County sheriff.

“Here in the rescue squad he had served as captain, so he led the rescue squad for a year,” said Roakes.

But he wasn’t just a captain.

Hopkins was a key piece in public safety for the county. Between helping program radios in a regional project or instructing courses in CPR, Hopkins wore many hats in Central Virginia.

“As you can see here in this picture, they’re working on infant and child CPR techniques,” said Roakes.

Hopkins leaves his knowledge behind for the generations to come.

But in the wake of his passing, Hopkins’ legacy begins to take hold. Not just in the uniforms, but forever in people’s hearts.

“You can’t put into words again, from a friendship, we’ve been through a lot together,” said Roakes.

“If I could be half the man he was, I consider myself blessed,” said Ayers.

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