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Town of Louisa mourns loss of its ‘Chief’

Posted on Thursday, August 14, 2014 at 9:00 am

Chief Perkins lost his battle with lung cancer on Tuesday, Aug. 12.

Chief Perkins lost his battle with lung cancer on Tuesday, Aug. 12.

Louisa County residents mourned the loss of one of their own on Tuesday, Aug. 12, as longtime Louisa Volunteer Fire Department Chief Robert Franklin Perkins passed away at the age of 89. Perkins had been battling lung cancer since May of 2013.

Known by most simply as “Perk,” Perkins was one of the most accomplished and respected figures in the field of emergency services.

“Perk did so much for the fire and emergency response services in Louisa,” Louisa County Fire and EMS Chief Keith Greene said. “You can go on about it all day, and you wouldn’t cover everything he has done for the county.”

“I don’t have words for how proud we are of him,” Perkins’ daughter, Marie Bowers, said. “We always have been.”

Perkins’ time as a firefighter was a lengthy and illustrious one, with a wide-reaching impact across the county. Like his father before him, Perkins decided to become a firefighter, joining the force in 1940. He was elected fire chief of the LVFD in 1976.

During his volunteer career, Perkins made a habit of encouraging growth across the grand scope of emergency medical services offered in the county. He was a charter member of the Louisa County Rescue Squad, which he helped found in 1956. Perkins was also the chief supervisor for the construction of the new LVFD station in 1989.

In 2000, Perkins was the key figure in the county’s decision to construct a training center for the county’s seven fire departments. He played the same role in 2009, this time to bring a burn building to the county in hopes of producing firefighters with the highest level of training. Shortly after its completion, the burn building was dedicated to Perkins in a ceremony held by the LVFD.

“He did so much for the fire services in Louisa County,” longtime Mineral Volunteer Fire Department President Edwin Keller said. “He really helped all of the departments in the county.”

“Daddy never wanted a pat on the back,” Bowers said. “He just loved helping people.”

To read the entire story, see the Aug. 14 edition of The Central Virginian.