By Samantha Lyles, Staff Writer, firstname.lastname@example.org
At a special ceremony May 26, the Cashua Street building housing “Our Pat” (the city’s first fire engine) was dedicated in memory of the late Darlington Fire Chief Jim Stone, who served 50 years with the department.
Speakers included Mayor Gloria Hines, Darlington Fire Department Chief Pat Cavanaugh, City Council member John Segars, Darlington County Coroner Todd Hardee, First Baptist Church Pastor Brian Sherwood and Jason Stone, who donated his father’s fire helmet to display with “Our Pat.”
Each speaker shared memories of Stone as a witty and charming man, a prankster, and a dedicated public servant who deeply loved his city, his family and his firehouse.
Stone died on Feb. 7 at age 78.
His body lay in a flag-draped casket at the Darlington County Courthouse before his funeral services — a rare honor.
Cavanaugh and Darlington City Manager Howard Garland unveiled a custom plaque that bears Stone’s likeness and relates a brief history of the small brick building (the city’s first fire station) and the antique horse-drawn fire engine it houses.
Cavanaugh told the crowd that Chief Stone insisted firefighters roll “Our Pat” outside twice a year, wash it thoroughly, and then reverse its position so that each side faces the sun for six months and the surfaces will fade evenly.
Following the ceremony, guests gathered at the nearby Voter Registration Annex and enjoyed some of Stone’s favorite treats: boiled peanuts, cupcakes and ice-cold bottles of Coca-Cola.
Photos by Samantha Lyles