James Clark died Wednesday; friends said he worked for as long as his health allowed
PRINCE GEORGE - Proud, strong, calm, dependable. Those are just some of the words used to describe James “Jimmy” Clark, the chief and longtime member of the Burrowsville Volunteer Fire Department who worked incidents until he was unable to do so.
Clark died Wednesday following a period of declining health, but he still managed to leave a mark on the community.
Retired volunteer firefighter Jeff Rose, who was a lieutenant at the time, worked under Clark when he was assistant chief.
“He just had tons of experience,” Rose said. “He didn’t get excited and always held stuff together. If you ever had a problem, he was the go-to guy.”
Rose recalled first coming on as a firefighter and putting a dent into the fire truck. The newbie was nervous, but instantly, Clark set his worries at ease.
“He just kind of laughed,” Rose said. “He wasn’t upset, and knew how to handle the situation, like all situations.”
Clark is known across Prince George and the emergency response community in Virginia. He led training, mentored hundreds, and was recognized as Firefighter of the Year here. He also earned the Unit Citation from the Prince George Fire and EMS Department.
But those who worked along side of him in some of the toughest conditions chose him as their top notch leader, knowing that the chief didn’t do it for the recognition, but for the team.
Recently, the Guns vs Hoses softball game, where the Prince George Police and Fire/EMS face off, honored Clark, who threw out the first pitch.
Clark served in every role he could to support BVFD. He had been treasurer, chief and assistant chief for numerous years, training officer, and not only attended, but organized many fundraisers for the company.
He was the stew master for the Brunswick stew, creating the recipe, constantly stirring and watching, and making the soup.
“He was always there, and always had a good time,” Rose noted. “He was always dependable, and you could expect him to be there no matter what it was.”
Former Supervisors Chairman William Robertson Jr. often honored Clark at the annual Prince George Fire and EMS awards banquet.
“He just provided outstanding service to county and led company 4 for many years as a volunteer,” Robertson noted. “He was the epitome of a volunteer. He also served in the Coast Guard Auxiliary, which was volunteer service.”
Robertson said he wished Prince George County had 500 other citizens just like Clark.
“He was still volunteering until he was unable to come back,” Robertson said. “He was a mainstay at Burrowsville and the chief for quite a few years at several different times. Jimmie Clark was a great individual and volunteer and gave of himself to help his community and the citizens – a true public servant.”
Supervisors Vice Chairman Donald Hunter knew Clark for what he refers to as “almost my my entire life.” He praised the BVFD chief for his contributions to the community, saying, “He was just a great guy, a gentleman, and a real contributor to his community.”
“As a volunteer and member of the community in Burrowsville and Prince George he will be sorely missed,” Robertson said. “He showed his dedication to his citizens of Prince George through his volunteerism. As a person, he will be sorely missed.”
Adrienne Wallace is editor of the Hopewell Herald and Prince George Post.