Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Martinsburg Family Provides over 50 Years in the Fire Service

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Martinsburg Family Provides over 50 Years in the Fire Service

Article excerpt

MARTINSBURG - The Martin family has a long track record in the fire service, and its members have been part of the history of the Bedington Volunteer Fire Department since its inception. Charles "Flappy Martin, along with his son Phil, was one of the original founders in 1962.

Today, Flappy's grandson and Phil's son, Andy, continue to volunteer at the station and is also a paid firefighter for Berkeley Fire, which services Berkeley County.

"I joined Jan. 1, 1986, Andy said. "I came in as a junior member when I first possibly could.

Phil said he was happy with his son's enthusiasm.

"I knew the moral benefits of the fire service, and I wanted him there and I encouraged it. Those people that are firefighters normally are good, helpful citizens when they are off duty, Phil said.

Phil started at the station when the Bedington Volunteer Fire Department was established in 1962, which led to a job in the paid service.

"I joined the Martinsburg Fire Department in October 1969 and retired in December of '99, Phil said. He retired from the chief's office.

Phil said he was happy to be the chief, but he missed the days of running the calls.

"It's not that I didn't like the position of chief and doing what a chief has to do, it was just that I like the firefighting and working with the men, Phil said.

The Martins say never holding a position of power to be the boss and never walking away from their share of the workload are signature family traits. For them, it is a duty in the full sense of the word - selfless commitment to the larger community.

Andy added that the public trusts firefighters to do their jobs, and "it's expected, and daily it is proven.

Phil said those who desecrate that expected trust do not properly represent the service firefighters provide.

"They need to be stopped right now. The person that would go into a burning building and steal someone's wallet or a person that would walk into someone's home while they are not home and set it on fire - those people are not in our vocabulary. …

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