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A West Point man who has volunteered as a firefighter for more than 60 years and watched his son and grandson join the department was awarded Thursday for his years of service.
Ralph Wright, 87, began serving the West Point Fire Department in January 1947 and helped found the Dixie Firefighters Association in 1963.
On Thursday, the Dixie Firefighters Association celebrated its 50th anniversary during its annual meeting in Elizabethtown.
In honor of that anniversary, the organization, which covers eight counties and includes 62 departments, awarded firefighters who served their agencies for half a century or longer.
Of the seven men who were awarded, only Wright was able to to accept his flag box and certificate in person.
Now in his 66th year of service with the West Point Fire Department, he attended Thursday’s meeting with his son, WPFD Chief Jeff Wright, and West Point Mayor and former Fire Chief Bill Ash.
Ralph Wright began serving the fire department in 1947 when he said he “heard the whistle.” In 1956, he was appointed chief and led the department for 27 years, according to Jeff Wright.
In 1977, the department’s building was dedicated in his honor, Jeff Wright said. A bronze plaque bearing Ralph’s name was posted.
Ralph Wright remained an active member until 2010 when he no longer was able to make runs. Now he is “semi-active,” Jeff Wright said, and he continues to listen to scanner activity, attend meetings and training activities and participate in Crusade for Children.
According to Ralph Wright, he does “whatever they ask me to do.”
“It’s hard to sit there and listen to that pager and you not do anything,” the former chief said.
Ralph Wright has watched his son and grandson serve the fire department he led for nearly three decades. Jeff Wright has volunteered with the department for 39 years and his son, Billy, joined nearly three years ago.
“It’s a wonderful thing,” Ralph Wright said. “I didn’t plan it that way.”
Sarah Bennett can be reached at 270-505-1750 or email@example.com.