VAVRS Family and Friends and 2017 VAVRS Memorial Service Page

Agencies and Members, if you have information with regard to any of our VAVRS Family and Friends Please send information to:  VAVRS Chaplain.

Steven is in MCV Hospital - he has successfully recieved a kidney transplant.  As long as everything continues to go well he will be released to go home on Saturday 5/27.  Please keep 
Steven in your thoughts and prayers.
He is currently in 442 - Main 9 West at MCV
Home Address:
P O Box 1273
Warsaw, VA  22572

submitted by VAVRS Office - 5/25/2017

Jerry passed away on 5/24/2017 - Arrangements incomplete at this time
Brenda Skalsky
6405 W Quaker Rd
Disuptanta VA  23842

submitted by VAVRS Office - 5/25/2017

DEATH NOTICE:  Willis Connell, a Life Member of Forest View Rescue Squad, passed away on 5-12-17 at the age of 84.  He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Sue Kidd Connell.

Submitted by J. C. Phillips, VAVRS Life Member

A long time mentor and well respected member of NSVRS;
Melvin Smith, had a Cerebrovascular Event that placed him
in Sentara Norfolk General Hospital early last week. Due to
complications from the injury, Melvin was placed on Life
Support and underwent further evaluation and testing. Early
morning on May 1, 2017 Melvin's family made the hardest
decision to remove him from life support. Melvin Was called
home and peacefully passed away at 1119 hours later that
day. Melvin is survived by his Wife Leola Smith, Daughters
Arlene Smith & Lisa Tarkington, Brother Earl Smith, Sister
in Law Glenda Smith, and Grandchildren Tori & Ginger

Melvin joined the Nansemond-Suffolk Volunteer Rescue
Squad (NSVRS) on February 2, 1961. Melvin served the
citizens of suffolk and Suffolk Fire-Rescue for over 56
years, starting as the first registered EMT in the region
and moving all the way up as a Paramedic Supervisor.
Over the last decade, Melvin served in an active capacity
as the President of NSVRS and our liaison with Virginia
Association of Volunteer Rescue Squads (VAVRS). 

Melvin's Celebration of Life will be honored with a Viewing
and Funeral Service this week: Service details are as follows:

Viewing Wednesday 
Time: 7:00pm - 8:30pm
Location: Baker Funeral Home
509 W. Washington Street
Suffolk, Virginia 23434

Funeral Service Thursday 
Time: Service at 11:00am
Graveside 11:45am (Reception to follow)
Location: Bethlehem Christian Church
1549 Holland Road
Suffolk, Virginia 23434

FIRE, EMS, PD LINE UP TIME: 09:45 @ Bethlehem Church
Melvin will be honored with Full Fire / EMS Services as well as
Military Honors. We ask that all present and past NSVRS
members attend as well as any other member of a Fire / EMS
Agency in the area to attend. For active duty paid and
volunteer members, the preferred dress will be a Class A
or Class B uniform with shrouded badges. All agency personnel
and or apparatus are welcome to attend the services. 
Agencies and or personnel bringing any
Emergency Apparatus / vehicle, or for anyone with
further questions and or concerns; please contact Adam Gwynn at 757-375-5565 or email at

We thank you for your assistance and continued prayers for
Melvin and his Family. 
Nansemond-Suffolk Volunteer Rescue Squad
Board of Directors
428 Market Street
Suffolk, Virginia 23434

DEATH NOTICE:  It is with deep sorrow that we report that
Tommy Gwaltney, VAVRS Life Member/Hall of Fame suffered
a stroke and died Friday, April 7, 2017.  
Please keep his family and friends in your thoughts and prayers.  

Thomas Ackie Gwaltney, 70, passed away April 7, 2017 in Sentara Norfolk
General Hospital with his family by his side. Tommy was the son of the late
Will M. Gwaltney Sr. and Dorothy G. Gwaltney. Tommy retired from Newport
News Shipbuilding as an Apprentice Instructor after 43 years of service.
He was a charter member of the Surry Volunteer Rescue Squad where
he served in many capacities and was currently the Captain.
He selflessly served the citizens of Surry County for the past 54 years.
He also served in the capacity of Rescue Squad Auxiliary Treasurer.
He was a life member and past Vice-President of District 3 of the
Virginia Association of Volunteer Rescue Squads. He was also a
state life member and Hall of Fame member in the VAVRS.
He was a state level EVOC instructor and Instructor Trainer
and co-chairman of the state EVOC conference competition.

Tommy was also predeceased by an infant daughter Jamie C. Gwaltney
and his wife of forty-two years Anne J. Gwaltney. He is survived by his
wife of three years Selinda Ward Gwaltney, one son Matt Gwaltney
of Spring Grove and one grandson Colin T. Gwaltney of Elberon.
Two step-children Sandra Gutierrez (Mo) and James C. Judkins, III.
Three-step grandchildren, Miranda Judkins,
Amber Judkins and Carson Gutierrez.
One brother Will M. Gwaltney, Jr (Bina) of Surry.

A very special niece Emily J. Pittman along with several other
nieces and nephews. A funeral service will be held on Tuesday
April 11 at 11 o’clock a.m. in Littles Funeral Home, Smithfield with
burial to follow in Old Brick Church Cemetery, Bacons Castle.

The family will receive friends from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the funeral home.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Surry Volunteer
Rescue Squad, P O Box 188, Surry, VA 23883.

Condolences may be posted online at

Surry VRS
11627 Colonial Trail East
Surry, VA

If an agency plans to bring an emergency vehicle for
the funeral procession please contact Bubby Bish
@ 804-731-1131 or

Cards can be sent to:
Family of Tommy Gwaltney
2645 Colonial Trail East
Surry, VA 23883
Submitted by Gary Dalton 04-08-17

HEALTH CONCERN:  Joyce Atkins, Life Member and Past President
of the AVAVRS, was in an auto accident and has some
leg and shoulder injuries.  She is now in a rehab felicity
to gain mobility and strength.
Cards can be sent to:
Joyce Atkins
c/o Henrico Health & Rehabilitation Center
561 North Airport Drive
Highland Springs, VA  23075-0319
Submitted by Carolyn J. Brand 03-10-17
DEATH NOTICE:  James Eugene Sowder, of Blacksburg and
Winchester, Virginia and most recently Jacksonville, North
Carolina entered God's eternal glory early on the morning of
March 3, 2017.  
Jim was a small business owner, community leader, and served
his country at home and abroad in the US Army. He was a life
member and long time officer of Blacksburg Rescue Squad.
Most importantly he was a husband to Lorena Era Iona Sowder,
née Bilyeu; Father to three sons, Brett Alan and wife Donna,
Loyd Eugene and wife Karen, and James Adam and wife Sandra;
as well as, one daughter Aimee Belinda Elizabeth Sowder and
wife Suzanne Gilreath. 
Also surviving are six grandchildren, Jarrett Alan Sowder,
Anthony James Willard, Jacob McKinley Willard and wife Ginny,
Samantha Elaine Sowder, Tedrick Roland Sowder, and
Henry Logan Sowder; and one great grandchild Travis Cole Willard.
Jim was born in Hot Springs, VA on July 14, 1942.  He was
preceded in death by his father the Rev. Eugene Sowder
and his mother Annie Mae Sowder, née Lawson. 
Family and Friends are invited to gather at McCoy Funeral
Home on March 11, 2017 at 11:00 AM in Blacksburg, VA
for a memorial service with The Rev. J. Adam Sowder officiating.  Interment will follow at Sunset Cemetery in Christiansburg, VA. 
In lieu of flowers donations can be made to Blacksburg Rescue
Squad, or The American Cancer Society
Submitted by Kathy Eubank, VAVRS Training Coordinator - 03-08-17

Agencies and Members, please send information regarding VAVRS members that have passed away between September 1, 2016 and August 31, 2017 to:  VAVRS Chaplain.


(Names are listed in alphabetical order)

Ronald Wayne Alsup – St Charles VRS

Larry K. Brie – Clifton Forge RS

Nicholas James Briganti – LifeCare MT and Chancellor VF&R

Ferdinando “Fred” Broccolo – Chancellor VF&R

Russell Charles Brungard – Greater Manassas RS Aux

Virginia Wharton Coppedge – Madison County RS

Ruth P. Vtipil Dalton – Hopewell Emergency Crew

Eugene Tildon Edmonds Sr - Renan VFD

Dennis Lee Edwards – Brunswick VRS

Thomas Ackie Gwaltney – Surry VRS

Edward Raymond “Eddie” Hall – Westmoreland County VRS

Ian Thomas Johns – LifeCare MT

Elva Ray “Ray” Johnson – Forest View RS Aux

Carol Kenney - West Hanover VRS Aux

Georgia Ann Coffelt Kerns – Shawnee FD

Henri G. Moore Jr. – Hanover Fire and EMS

Madeline T Spain Moore – Chase City RS Auxilary

James Wallace “Jimmy” Musselman IV – Colonial Beach VRS

Charles Kenton Nicely – Lexington LS & FAC / FD

Deacon Louis I. Pettigrew Jr. – Concord RS

Larry Francis Rhodes – Southside Virginia EC

Elsie Lee Rinker – Millwood Station F&R Aux

John Jerry Robertson - Renan VFD

Betty Jo “BJ” Rohr – Staunton-Augusta FA & RS

James Eugene Sowder – Blacksburg RS

Christine English Spicer – Fredericksburg RS Aux

Ruth Guffey Steadman – Bristol LSC Aux

Sherri Strader – Stuarts Draft RS

Herman Eugene “Gene” Wells – Southside Virginia EC

Charles K. “Chuck” White – Henrico VRS