- Special Sections
- Public Notices
To earn entry to a hall of fame is quite a feat.
To have two from one area earn election to the same hall in the same year is extra special.
Lancaster County is quite fortunate in this in regards to the S.C. Firefighters Hall of Fame.
The S.C. Firefighters Hall of Fame inducted two fire chiefs from Lancaster County during its recent enshrinement at Myrtle Beach.
Retired Pleasant Valley Volunteer Fire Department Chief Paul Blackwelder and the late Elgin Volunteer Fire Department Chief Dennis Cauthen were inducted during the S.C. Firefighters Association Conference held June 4-9.
Blackwelder devoted 54 years to the Pleasant Valley department, where he began service in 1955. He served as its chief from 1973 until 2009, when he retired from the northern Lancaster County department. He also served as one of the first members of the Lancaster County Fire Commission. He is still the PVFD’s safety officer.
Blackwelder’s nomination was based on his “exemplary service and dedication to the department.”
Blackwelder said dedication and hard work were a major part of his service to the Pleasant Valley Fire Department and he was grateful to the department’s firefighters for the nomination.
“I was just glad I could do what I did for the fire department over the years – help them grow and do their job to save people’s lives and property,” he said. “I’ve been glad I could serve my community in a way that it benefited everyone pretty much equally.”
Cauthen, like Blackwelder, was dedicated to his community and the fire department he served.
Cauthen’s service included 31 years with the Elgin Volunteer Fire Department, including 15 years as its chief. He served as chairman of the Lancaster County Fire Commission during that time and as an adjunct instructor at the S.C. Fire Academy.
Cauthen died of a heart attack after responding to a fire in Lancaster last August. He was honored this spring during a Fallen Firefighter memorial service at the S.C. Fire Academy in Columbia.
“He was special to me and I’m thankful that he was special enough to other people that they’d nominate him for the hall of fame,” said his wife, Teresa. “He loved and helped so many people, we should all follow in his footsteps.”
Cauthen and Blackwelder are wonderful examples of people who put their lives on the line each time they answered the call to action. We’re fortunate they dedicated their lives to making life better in our community.
They are humble and dedicated people who deserve their elite place among the state’s best firefighters.