One of the favorite bible verses of the fire service is found in John 15:13 – “Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
Retired Centre Fire Chief Hobert Reed was the embodiment of this scripture, being willing to sacrifice himself for his country, his community and his city throughout the 91 years he had on this earth.
By first serving his country in World War II and then coming home to Centre and joining the very first Centre Fire Department in 1947.
For 68 years Hobert sacrificed family time, Christmas after Christmas, vacations, dinners, and any other valuable personal time that may have occasionally came his way.
When that siren blew, the phone rang or the pager tone sounded, Hobert always sprung into action to protect his neighbors or to try to save their property; many times not knowing if that call would be his last.
He told many stories of harrowing fire fights and near misses that he encountered throughout his career. There was the tire store fire downtown that took several days to extinguish; the theatre fire where he barely escaped death when the fron canopy nearly collapsed on him; the textile factory warehouse that flashed over in seconds; and the fire that destroyed his home church in East Centre.
Any of these or the hundreds of other calls that he responded to could have been his last.
We as a department want to thank the family for letting us borrow Hobert throughout the years – he has been and always will be a permanent fixture of the Centre Fire Department. We love him and will miss him, but we know he’s now in Heaven with Ivyln and our Heavenly Chief telling us one of his favorite sayings, “When You Need Me, I’ll Call You”
Chief Kevin Ware,
Centre Fire Department