For the past 40 years he has had a steady engagement at the Polkville Volunteer Fire Department where he served as chief for the last 30. At the meetings, department business is discussed, and it is a time for the firefighters to get together and talk.
“At that time I was a 19 year old that was looking for the adrenaline rush,” he said. “I also wanted to serve my community.”
And as the years passed and he rose through the ranks, he expected all of the volunteers he worked with to make the same commitment to service.
When Silver took over as chief in 1989, life in the fire department was very different. His training was done in-house, and he remembers a time when he was on a ladder, hose in hand and he had only been with the department less than a couple of months.
In the past 30 years, he was a catalyst for many changes at Polkville. When he became chief, Silver had three goals, build a new firehouse, get a new truck and raise the insurance rating for the community.
Silver remembers the years fondly and is proud of what he has accomplished with the help of his crew.
But Silver truly believes it. As he talked about what he accomplished during his tenure as chief, he made sure that the men who volunteered their service were acknowledged.
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McMurry and Silver reminisced of years gone by. The years of friendship showed as they finished telling each other’s stories or said the same sentence at the same time. That type of friendship is what Silver will truly miss, he said.
As his time with department came to the end, Silver’s legacy was honored in multiple ways. At the end of 2019 the Western North Carolina Fire Fighters Association named him Volunteer Chief of the year. And on Feb. 9, the department threw him a reception where they places a plaque on a truck in his honor and surprised him with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.
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