Paden City Fire Chief Jim Richmond
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a 12-week series highlighting fire chiefs in Wetzel and Tyler County.
Paden City Fire Chief Jim Richmond may be the longest running volunteer fireman in West Virginia, and has served as chief longer than any other. Longtime member and chief of the Paden City Volunteer Fire Company, Richmond is a 1952 graduate of Paden City High School and has spent the past 68 years as a member of the Paden City Volunteer Company having joined at the age of 18. He has spent 56 of those years as its chief. He also served as the fire company’s secretary-treasurer for 12 years.
Former Paden City Mayor and high school classmate of his, John Hopkins had this to say about Richmond. “Jim has devoted most of his life to the betterment of our community and state through his involvement in fire service and training of others.” He holds an instructor’s certificate from the WVU Fire Service Extension and RESA.While employed by Corning (Paden City plant) as a Section Foreman for plant and equipment maintenance, Jim was also chief of the company’s fire brigade.
In 2010 Richmond was named a Distinguished Alumni for Paden City High School by the Paden City Cornerstone group and was honored at the annual DAA reception that is part of the annual Paden City Alumni Weekend activities.
His association with firefighting organizations includes the Paden City ambulance service, being a charter member of the West Virginia State Fire Commission, and serving for 24 years, serving one year as Chairman, member and past president of the West Virginia State Firemen Association and president of the Northern Panhandle Fireman’s Association. He is also member and past president of the WV State Fire Chief’s Association and treasurer of the Wetzel County Fireman’s Association. Jim served as president of Firetac (training organization). Jim also served as director of the Wetzel County Office of Emergency Services and received the Distinguished West Virginian Award for Outstanding Achievement and Meritorious Service in 1991.
In 2010 fire chief Richmond, was nominated as an America’s Most Wanted All-Star. Nominated by his fellow firefighters, he was among many nominated to win $10,000 and two tickets to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series All-Star Challenge on May 22 in Charlotte, N.C., along with round-trip coach airfare, hotel accommodations, non-exclusive ground transportation, and an America’s Most Wanted varsity jacket, presented by John Walsh host of America’s most wanted.
Jim has spent his entire adult life serving in city government, having served on the Common Council of Paden City for 20 plus years and chaired the Finance committee for many of those years. He was a member of the Building Committee of the city’s municipal office building in the mid-1970’s and is a former employee of the Paden City Development Authority. Richmond was a member of the Paden City Alumni Association in its early years and served as the group’s president for it’s first two years.He also held the office of treasurer of the Paden City Schools Athletic Association at one time.
At the present time Jim is once again serving as a councilman for the community. His wife Loretta has also many involved with the fire department as an auxillary member for the past 60 some years. Together they may also be the longest serving husband and wife team in state history.
Jim is married to Loretta (Eddy) Richmond and they have two sons, Phillip deceased, and Eric (Anna), three grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Paden City has been fortunate to have the Richmond’s as dedicated serving members of the community. Many of Paden City’s firefighters owe much of what they know because of time spent in traing sessions and on the job alongside what they believe is the best chief a community could ever ask for. We wish Chief Richmond the best and hope to see him around for years to come.