BUCKHANNON – The late Joe Bennett was recently honored at the City of Buckhannon’s 13th Annual Friendly Way Day.
Though born in Webster County, Joe Bennett came to Upshur County as a youngster, played high school football and graduated from Buckhannon-Upshur High School in 1976.
In 1980, he joined the Buckhannon Volunteer Fire Department and became a paid firefighter in 1985.
Bennett was a mentor to many young firefighters over the years. He served as secretary/treasurer of the BVFD and was an expert in technical rescue and ropes.
He tragically passed in 2006 of a heart attack leaving behind wife Sue and daughter Amy.
He totaled nearly 21 years of distinguished service as a paid fire fighter and 26 years total service to the BVFD and the community.
Bennett was known as the “heart and soul” of the department.
“Since 2007, our Fire Department has now honored 12 other individuals who collectively gave centuries of service to this department, to protecting the lives and property of all residents of our B-U community,” Buckhannon Mayor David McCauley said. “They are all heroes, and six of those 13 total honorees are no longer with us. All 13 are listed in your program. We all know their names. As a result of
his annual exercise- we must never allow those that come after us to ever forget those who came before them. The legacies of these 13- their selflessness, their service- must never be forgotten. We will always honor and love them for all that they did, and for all that they sacrificed for us. Today, we add Joe Bennett to our growing list of honorees. Joe gave 26 years of his life that ended way too early, to this department, and to our community. We continue to recognize him and thank Joe for his dedicated service as a firefighter.”
He will also be honored with a plaque on the city’s Wall of Red.
Other honorees since 2007 include:
2007 - CARL R. BENNETT (1913-1991)
2008 - HARLEY BROWN (1932-2017)
2009 - BUDDY RAY ZICKEFOOSE
2010 - PAUL B. MACKEY (1922-2016)
2011 - JACKIE L. “JACK” FORD (1936-2013)
2012 – LARRY MACKEY
2013 – JERRY L. WILFONG
2014 – WYATT LONG
2015 – DAVE LONG
2016 – KEVIN GOODWIN
2017 – CHARLIE SHAFFER (1925-2017)
2018 – PAUL MORRISON
In May of 2007, just prior to the commencement of the 66th Strawberry Festival in Buckhannon, the Buckhannon City Council resolved to name the then newly completed public street upon which fronts the City’s Public Safety Complex, “Friendly Way,” in honor and memory of Carl R. “Bud,” “Ole Friendly” Bennett (1913-91) who had served as Buckhannon’s Fire Chief for more than 40 years, and as a member of the Buckhannon Volunteer Fire Department for more than 52 years.
Bud Bennett was one of the all-time colorful characters, not to mention friendliest ambassadors of our Buckhannon community. The designation of the new street as “Friendly Way,” served not only as a tribute to our beloved Fire Chief, but also as a reflection of the way that our City sees itself and the manner that our City government hopes its employees and representatives will always conduct themselves, that is, in a “friendly way.”
Each year on Firefighters’ Parade Day during the Strawberry Festival, Buckhannon will honor other substantial contributors to our community’s high quality of life.