SC town remembers fire chief, school board chairman, true public servant

Calvin Melton (WRDW-TV)
Calvin Melton (WRDW-TV)
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News 12 at 6 o’clock / Friday, Feb. 8, 2013

WILLISTON, S.C. (WRDW) -- Calvin Melton was a county councilman, school board chairman, longtime fire chief and so many other things. More importantly, he was a father, a husband and a friend to so many in Williston.

"He's just been civic-minded his entire life,” said Milton Widener, current chief of the Williston Fire Department.

"Calvin was a person who gave his all, so to speak. Sometimes probably too much to this fire department,” said Barnwell County Coroner Lloyd Ward, a personal friend of the Melton family.

Melton was born in Alabama, but Williston was his home. He was perhaps best known as the town's fire chief from 1983 to 2010. He served on the fire department since 1975.

"The funeral is definitely going to be tough for us tomorrow, just because of the closeness that all of us had with him over the years,” said Chief Widener.

On Friday morning, the mayor, the coroner and the current chief gathered to remember the man who lost his battle against cancer just this week at 61 years old. He died Wednesday morning at his Williston home, surrounded by his family.

On Saturday, the town’s 1951 Ford fire engine will be his hearse. Coincidentally, Melton was born in 1951.

"I don't want to stand close to anyone that's going to cry because I know I'll break down and start crying when they bring that out,” said Mayor Tommy Rivers, who says Melton’s shoes will be tough to fill for the small town.

Melton served on the school board for the last 10 years and was the board chairman.

Superintendent Tom Siler says he learned quite a bit from him.

"Much of what Calvin Melton shared with me was about the community,” Siler said.

On Saturday, his body will be buried, but the legacy of the true public servant will surely live on.

"Calvin was kind of one-of-a-kind, and he will be greatly missed in the fire service as well as in the community,” Widener said.

Melton's funeral is Saturday at 11 a.m. at the First Baptist Church of Williston. He'll be buried at the Williston Cemetery with Fireman's Honors.

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