Braxton Citizens' News, Opinion

A very sad day…

Before I get the main topic of this writing, let me remind everyone that we are in our last week of early voting. Anyone wishing to vote may do so at the Old Fisher Building, adjacent to the Sutton Firehouse and across the street from the Courthouse. The special polling place is open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 Monday through Friday of this week and on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Of course, if you miss early voting or choose not to take advantage of it… you can still cast your ballot on election day, May 10 between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. at your local polling precinct.

I had planned to talk about the election in this column, but in the wake of Sunday’s tragedy, I’m simply not in the mood.

The firefighting community of Braxton County suffered a major loss Sunday afternoon. As you will read on the front page of this issue, John Forbursh lost his life trying to save a woman and child from Elk River.

I have asked, and this is believed to be the first fire fighter death in the line of duty in our county’s history. After nearly 50 years in the fire service, that’s a mile-stone I had hoped we would never see. 

I knew John, but not really well like many in my department and others. I have done business with him and provided our services for his business. It has all been good. However, due to my semi-retirement from firefighting, I have never worked with him in the field. With that said, I know of his determination to help others and his commitment to his fellow firefighters and community.

Unfortunately, this tragedy brings a lot of things to the forefront of this ole fireman’s mind. I spend the last half of my career primarily trying to keep the other members of our department out of serious danger and get them home safely. I have always realized how dangerous this work is. It is easy to forget the risk when adrenaline gets to flowing in the heat of the battle. Loosing John Forbush is a tragedy that will weigh heavily on many in the fire community far into the future. I hope that a little good can come from John’s sacrifice in reminding all that answer the call for help, whether it be fire, EMS or police, that we can never let our guard down. Life can be very short. We must continue this work because there will always be friends, neighbors and our fellow man in need. Don’t let John’s death be in vain… stay safe!