One of their own

Published 10:27 pm Monday, February 16, 2009

Firefighters from each of Chilton County’s volunteer fire departments joined the family of former County Commissioner and longtime Union Grove Fire Chief Charles Culp to pay their last respects to Mr. Culp yesterday afternoon in the Union Grove community.

The traditional firefighter funeral, which was directed by Martin Funeral Home, honored Mr. Culp, who served as the only fire chief of the Union Grove Fire Department from its founding in 1977 until the time of his death.

The services were held at Union Grove Baptist Church and were followed by a procession from the church to Union Grove Cemetery several hundred yards down County Road 51. The road was blocked around from the intersection of County Road 42 to the church for the procession.

An honor guard with a bagpipe player led the convoy, followed by two Union Grove fire trucks and a motorcade of family members. Along the parade route, fire engines from each of the county fire departments lined the shoulders of the road, and all the firefighters saluted Mr. Culp as the convoy went by.

At the cemetery, the Masons also honored Culp along with short messages and prayers from the ministers. Firefighters also showed tribute to the fire chief by the ringing the bell, a flyover by helicopter emergency transport and possibly the most moving part, which was the final call given by Chilton County 911 over Union Grove’s pagers.

The ceremony, which was held across the street from Mr. Culp’s peach orchards, ended with the honor guard giving his wife, Geraldine, an American flag.