2015 Rewind: February
Published 11:02 am Thursday, December 31, 2015
From RCNH Archives
POWELLSVILLE – Over its 58-year history, the Powellsville Volunteer Fire Department (PVFD) has seen only two men wear the “Chief’s” helmet.
One of those leaders has now officially retired.
At a gathering here in early February in the Fellowship Hall of Powellsville Baptist Church, current-day PVFD members were joined by community leaders, family and friends to honor 87-year-old E. Rawls (“Buck”) Carter, the department’s founding Fire Chief and one of its charter members.
It was Carter, then a businessman in the town, who went to Raleigh to get the PVFD’s first truck, a surplus military vehicle that he and others converted into a fire truck.
Carter stepped down as Fire Chief in 1979 due to health issues and David Powell took over the reins, and remains in that position today. However, Carter continued to be an active member of the fire department up until his retirement, and was often the first man to the station to get the trucks rolling.
“Buck Carter had a dream that Powellsville needed a fire department. He and others joined together, got a fire truck, and the rest, as they say, is history,” said Powell.
In honor of his 57 years in the PVFD, Carter was presented with the official emblem of the department (Station 52) on a wooden plaque, complete with a bell. PVFD fireman David Harrell made the presentation.
Carter recalled the early days of the department, back when their only piece of firefighting equipment was a retrofitted US Army surplus vehicle.
“We’ve come a long way,” he said. “The only new fire truck we purchased while I was Chief was a 1972 Ford pumper. Just look at us now, a nice fire station with fire trucks that are paid for. I really appreciate ya’ll thinking of me tonight. It means so much to me.”
“When you think of the words to describe Buck Carter, you come up with many adjectives,” said the Rev. Walter Johnston, pastor of Powellsville United Methodist Church.
Johnston recalled a sermon he recently delivered, one centering on “service leadership.”
“Jesus Christ set down an example for us to follow, to be both a servant and a leader, in our homes, in our churches, and in our community,” Johnston stated. “And when I stop and think about Mr. Buck, the words servant and leader are very applicable. He saw a need for this community and filled that need. He knew that this community, although small, needed a fire department just like everyone else had. He took the bull by the horns and he became a leader and exemplified service leadership.”
Powellsville Mayor Thomas Asbell also saluted Carter’s 57 years of service.
“He planted the seed – he nurtured it and loved it – and look tonight to what that seed produced, a giant tree that is the Powellsville Fire Department of today. Mr. Buck will always be a part of this growth. We love you and thank you for everything that you’ve done,” Asbell said.
Today, PVFD boasts of 33 active volunteer members. They serve a 75 square mile district plus are mutual aide designees for five other volunteer departments. The department survives on fundraisers and a county annual budget of $10,000. But, most of all, it survives on the work ethic handed down through the generations by Buck Carter.