January Jefferson Award Winner: Chief Jim Wade, Jr.

Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 3:30 PM EST
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BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV) - Once a month, WDTV and Antero Resources award one deserving community member with a Jefferson Award. For the month of January, we’re honoring Chief Jim Wade, Jr.

Chief Wade has devoted much of his life to the fire service.

If you take a trip on Rt. 23, about halfway between Salem and Middlebourne, you’ll find the Shirley Volunteer Fire Department.

It has a staff of 12, which has been led for 16 years by Chief Wade.

Chief Wade has been in the fire service for 35 years and for his efforts, he has been named this month’s Jefferson Award winner.

While grateful for the honor, Chief Wade credits his staff.

“It makes me realize that the things that I do around here don’t go unnoticed and there’s people out there that appreciate what I do,” Chief Wade said. “I’ve always thought that we are a team. A whole team, not one individual.”

Wade’s father and grandfather were both firefighters and he started working in the fire hall at age ten.

“I was actually raised up in the fire service, cleaning bays, washing trucks, cleaning hose,” Chief Wade said.

Chief Wade is an Army veteran, having served with the 1092nd Combat Engineers in Iraq in 2003 and 2004. He said that experience helped him with his duties as Chief.

“The training is a lot different but the daily operations are both similar,” Chief Wade said. “The fire department is actually based off the military, so it kind of fits right in for me. "

Chief Wade said the job brings him satisfaction.

“As long as I can go home at night knowing I’ve done the best I could to make the department better, not only for us but our surrounding counties, then it’s been a successful day,” Chief Wade said.