Volunteer firefighter Dave Long embraces his brother, Steve Long, the 2022 honoree for Friendly Way Day May 20. Also pictured is Buckhannon fire chief JB Kimble. / Photo by Monica Zalaznik

City pays tribute to Steve Long for 35 years of selfless service; New fire engine dedicated to late fire chief Larry Mackey

BUCKHANNON – A member of a firefighting family was honored during Friday’s annual Friendly Way Day celebration.

The 2022 Friendly Way Day presentation took place at the Buckhannon Fire Department, at the Public Safety Complex May 20. Longtime volunteer firefighter Steve Long was added to the Red Wall, with all the other previous firefighters that were recognized for their service to the Buckhannon-Upshur community.

“We normally nominate people who have been part of our organization and giving back to our community through years of service in the fire department and today’s nominee is Steve Long,” Buckhannon Fire Chief JB Kimble said. “Steve has 35 years in the fire service, and I also want to recognize Steve’s brothers Dave and their father Wyatt.”

“I want you all to think about this — these three members have provided 100 years of service to our community, with the volunteer fire department,” Kimble added.

Long’s father, Wyatt Long, was added to the wall in 2014 and his brother Dave Long was added in 2015.

“I just can’t say anything more than how proud I am to have served alongside my brother in blood and my brothers in the fire department and the fire service,” Dave Long said. “I don’t know how many years we were in here together — I was first and then dad came in and Steve came in later. I can’t be more proud to serve alongside Steve and dad in the brotherhood of the fire service, to serve the people here in the Buckhannon community of Upshur County and surrounding counties.”

Mayor Robbie Skinner said the members of the fire department are committed to serving the Buckhannon-Upshur community.

“This department is near and dear to all of our hearts; 227 days ago this town changed and it’s probably going to stay changed for a long time,” Skinner said. “Not only did it change the landscape on the corner of Spring Street and Main Street, but we also had a couple of close calls — one close call that could have ended the life of one of our one of our paid firefighters, so it’s a very serious oath. It’s a very serious [pledge] the men and women of this department take every day to protect this community and beyond.”

Skinner said he was also proud of the department for serving not only Buckhannon, but the entire county.

“We are at a critical point in this county,” the mayor observed. “We do not have enough volunteers to serve these communities, so I’m very proud of Chief Kimble, and I’m proud of all of our staff and volunteers with this department that have stepped up to say, ‘We’re going to do everything we can to help Rock Cave, French Creek, Adrian and Selbyville.”

“If they need our help, we will be there,” Skinner added. “It doesn’t matter where the city limits end and begin, we are a community — the Upshur County community — and I’m very proud of each and every one of these men and women who put the uniform on every day to do everything they can to put it all on the line for this community.”

Pictured, from left, are Elsie Daft, Jim Mackey, David Mackey, fire chief JB Kimble, mayor Robbie Skinner, Cole Payne, Traci Payne and Cameron Payne. Also on Friday, May 20, the Buckhannon Fire Department honored fire chief Larry Mackey by dedicating their new fire engine to the long-serving chief.

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