West End Volunteer Fire Department celebrates 50 years of service

Chief Randall Brackett has also been the fire chief for all of those 50 years.
The volunteer fire department has grown to have 42 firefighters and three stations.
Published: Sep. 18, 2022 at 11:01 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A Burke County fire department is celebrating 50 years of service, all under the leadership of their fire chief who is still there today.

Community members gathered in Morganton this weekend to show support and give thanks to the West End Volunteer Fire Department.

“We started Labor Day in 1972, that’s when we organized and we’ve been going ever since,” Fire Chief Randall Brackett said.

The West End Volunteer Fire Department is a hub in this rural Burke County community, with a mission of serving others.

“The volunteers are people that go out in the middle of the night when it’s three degrees and help somebody they may not even know,” Brackett said.

Chief Brackett is the only fire chief the department has ever known.

“Service above self, I think he shows that every day with his service to this community,” former firefighter Banks Hinceman said.

Hinceman first learned how to be a firefighter under Chief Brackett’s wing.

“When I was about 18 or 19 years old I came to the West End Fire Department,” Hinceman said. “They help with fires, emergency medical issues, not just that but community outreach as well.”

They have pride in what they’ve built over the years.

“We have 42 firemen, and we’ve got three fire stations,” Brackett said. “We’re just gonna try to celebrate today and remember it for as long as we can remember it.”

As a surprise, Chief Brackett also received an award from the state honoring his 50 years of service.

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