Sons of the American Revolution chapter honors firefighter

PARKERSBURG – The local chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution recognized a firefighter with the Blennerhassett Volunteer Fire Department at the city building in Parkersburg Tuesday night.

James Reynolds, a former captain and now firefighter as well as EMT with the BVFD, was honored for his 39 years of community services with local fire departments and in the U.S. Army.

“He doesn’t know we’re doing this; it’s a surprise for him,” said Brent Sams, secretary with the Capt. James Neal Chapter of the SAR. “The chiefs (from various fire departments) nominated somebody.”

Reynolds retired as a captain with the Parkersburg Fire Department where he began working in 1984.

After retiring from PFD as a captain with honors in 2006, Reynolds rejoined the BVFD in 2007 and is an instructor of emergency response services at the Caperton Center on the West Virginia University at Parkersburg campus.

“It was a complete surprise,” Reynolds said of the award as firefighter of the year.

He said he was surprised by the honor but those who know him weren’t.

“He knows everything, does everything,” Sams said. “He’s a very qualified candidate.”

Chief Chris Sams with the Blennerhassett Volunteer Fire Department said Reynolds deserves the award and the entire firehouse agreed.

“He does a lot for us,” the chief said. “He is certified (for more things) than the rest of us and is always teaching us and helping.”

The 55-year-old veteran is not only a certified volunteer firefighter, he also teaches multiple classes at WVU-P and has a binder full of certifications, according to his colleagues.

Sams said the local group sent letters to 32 departments in the area, including about eight counties, to select an honoree with their various agency.

From that list, Reynolds was selected by the Sons of the American Revolution and chosen to represent not only the Blennerhassett department but potentially the state.

Chapter President Ronald Barnes said the SAR group hopes to make the award an annual tradition.

“The neat part about this award tonight is we started it and Firehouse Subs is co-sponsoring the award,” Sams said. “We are in the process of creating a permanent display to be in the restaurant.”

Sams said the restaurant at 107 Grand Central Ave. in Vienna was given a lot of what is displayed by Reynolds.

Reynolds will be a nominee for the state award. If he moves on from that, he will become a nominee for the national award.