Vaden Queen, Steve Thacker, Mayor Robbie Skinner, Steve Long and Fire Chief JB Kimble after the honorees received their 30-Year Recognition Awards.
Vaden Queen, Steve Thacker, Mayor Robbie Skinner, Steve Long and Fire Chief JB Kimble after the honorees received their 30-Year Recognition Awards.

Steve Thacker honored for his 35 years of volunteer fire service to Buckhannon

BUCKHANNON – The retired firefighter honored by the City of Buckhannon on Friday is a familiar face to many around town.

The City of Buckhannon and the Buckhannon Fire Department recognized 35-year veteran firefighter Steve Thacker during Friday’s annual ‘Friendly Way Day’ ceremony, which has honored local firefighters since 2007, when the city honored the memory longtime fire chief Carl R. “Bud” “Ole Friendly” Bennett by naming the street in front of the fire department Friendly Way.

Buckhannon Fire Chief JB Kimble announced Thacker as this year’s recipient.

“I went to Steve awhile back, talking about this event in hopes we were going to have it,” Kimble said at the ceremony. “Steve came to mind because he told me a story one time about a fire up at the plaza in Tennerton. At that point in time, Steve was not a member of the Buckhannon Volunteer Fire Department, but he was interested. The day that fire happened, he went up there and helped, and that’s the true definition of somebody who volunteers for their community.”

Kimble said he appreciated Thacker’s 35 years of service and upbeat attitude.

“He’s a very positive person,” Kimble said. “He always has a smile on his face and never has a negative word about anybody or anything. That is the true definition of a pure volunteer, to provide a service to our community, so Steve thank you for being here.”

In addition to his firefighter duties, Thacker is known to many in the Upshur County community for his work getting their automobiles in tip top shape and back on the road at Hi Tech Auto, located on S. Locust Street near the courthouse.

Mayor Robbie Skinner said members of the Buckhannon Volunteer Fire Department often stay involved, even after retirement.

“I’ve learned over the years, being so invested down here with this group, that it doesn’t just stop whenever you retire,” Skinner said. “We see that here today, that the commitment still remains.”

Kimble also presented three 30-Year Recognition Awards to Thacker, Steve Long and Vaden Queen.

“These three gentlemen right here have over 100 years in service to our community,” Kimble said. “Throughout the years we’ve had people come and go with a lot of years of service, and they still come in and drink coffee, and we take that for granted. Our fire department has decided that when somebody retires with 20 years, we will present them with something acknowledging their service to our community, and again at the 30-year mark. So today, these three gentlemen here are going to receive our 30-Year Recognition Award.”

Here’s the full text of the proclamation presented Friday:

Whereas the Council of the City of Buckhannon resolved in 2007 to honor the memory of our city’s longtime Fire Chief, Carl R. “Bud” “Ole Friendly” Bennett, by naming and dedicating the newly established municipal street upon which the city’s Public Safety Complex is located as “Friendly Way.”

Whereas the council further resolved thereafter to annually honor the members of our City Fire Department family who have substantially contributed to the high quality of life enjoyed by our Buckhannon community while embodying the essence of Buckhannon in its “friendly way,” as part of their public service to our community during an annual celebration to be known as “Friendly Way Day.”

Whereas past honorees were Bud Bennett in 2007, Harley Brown in 2008, Buddy Ray Zickefoose in 2009, Paul Mackey in 2010, Jack Ford in 2011, Larry Mackey in 2012, Jerry Wilfong in 2013, Wyatt Long in 2014, Kevin Goodwin in 2016, Charlie Shaffer in 2017, Paul Morrison in 2018 and Joe Bennett in 2019.

Whereas our city is proud and privileged to honor and celebrate the life and many contributions of Steve Thacker, who served our Buckhannon Fire Department as a volunteer firefighter and department coordinator in countless ways for 35 years from 1985 to 2020 on Friday, May the 14th at 3 p.m. during a ceremony held at the Public Safety Complex at “One Friendly Way,” during our city’s 14th annual “Friendly Way Day.”

Now therefore, I, Robert N. Skinner III, Mayor of the City of Buckhannon, pursuant to the power and authority duly vested in me, do hereby proclaim Friday, May 14, 2021 to be “Friendly Way Day,” throughout the City of Buckhannon. I further proclaim that the city’s 2021 honoree shall be Steve “Stevie” Thacker. Further pursuant to the approval of the city council, I hereby direct the installation of a permanent placard on both the “Red Wall,” and the “Buddy Bench,” located along Friendly Way, between our city’s Public Safety Complex and Stockert Youth/Community Center to forever honor and recognize Steve “Stevie” Thacker.

I further urge all of our residents and festival visitors alike to join the city’s most honored guest, Steve “Stevie” Thacker, along with other members of the fire department family and city government family and friends, near and far for our 14th annual “Friendly Way Day,” the public ceremony conducted at 3 p.m. on Friday May 14, 2021, at Buckhannon’s Public Safety Complex. We of course remember our beloved Carl R. “Bud” “Ole Friendly” Bennett and further in tribute to and appreciation of the public service of substantial contributors to our city such as our 2021 honoree, longtime volunteer firefighter, Steve “Stevie” Thacker.

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