Churchville Volunteer Fire-Rescue cherishes last original member’s legacy

Published: Jun. 4, 2023 at 10:23 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - George Lester “Sam” Thacker was one of the seven original lifetime members of the Churchville Volunteer Fire Department.

A vast majority of the department and community know him as the last remaining Charter Member that founded Churchville Volunteer Fire Department & Rescue Squad in 1959.

His memory goes back to the beginning of the station with his 63 years of service to the community.

“He ran emergency calls to start with and then when they change to EMT, he got out of it. It was more than he wanted to do. Then, he was president for a whole lot of years, but if you needed something and ask him, he would try to help you any way he could,” Former Churchville Volunteer FD Chief Harry Reed said.

Sam Thacker was considered an honorary mayor of Churchville as friends describe him as an all-around nice guy with his smile and cane.

“If you rode down through here, he would speak to you. He did not didn’t care who you were or anything,” Former Chief Reed said.

Sam mounted the officer seat of CVFD’s lead fire truck for the first time alongside one of his many lifelong friends; Harry “Snoop” Reed, and seated himself as the honorary Parade Marshal.

On Saturday, the infamous house siren initiated the start of the parade at 5 p.m., alarming Sam and Snoop for one last call to serve Churchville together.

This time, their duty was to smile and wave to those lining the streets and sidewalks, a gesture that was all too familiar and nostalgic for Sam.

Members of Churchville Volunteer Fire-Rescue put flags and markers on a former member’s grave to honor him every Memorial Day. Even if they didn’t know him well, the current crew hopes to honor Sam.

“They put us in the place with the equipment. We have the building that we have all of those things. We also have a new addition. It’s going up over here there at the door like to try to incorporate his honor do that as well,” Churchville Volunteer Fire-Rescue President Craig Williams said.

Members gathered at the Churchville Fire Department to pay their final respects to Sam and his family on June 2. Upon the sounding of the house siren, Augusta County Emergency Dispatchers conducted a traditional “Last Call” as a Churchville ambulance escorted the family toward the fire department.

Sam left a legacy of respect with his service. Churchville Volunteer Fire-Rescue hopes to have a piece of Sam’s character as they continue to serve.

People are invited to what was one of Sam’s favorite parts of the department, the annual Fireman’s Carnival happening from June 28 to July 1 at 3710 Churchville Ave. in Churchville.