Giving with grace - the spirit of Thanksgiving, Part II

While Thanksgiving is celebrated on a single Thursday in November, the gratitude, kindness and giving spirit of these people in the Williamsburg-area community shines throughout the year, touching lives near and far.

To share your stories of being thanful and of gratitude, click here, to create an account and tell us what or who you're thankful for this year.

Please click Part I and Part III to read the other stories in our holiday series. 


James City-Bruton fire company honored to serve

It could be something as sincere as a handshake and a heartfelt, “Thank you.”

It could be as symbolic as the Sept. 11 memorial garden outside the fire station.

It could be something as simple as a show of support by visiting the station.

Whatever the gesture, James City-Bruton Volunteer Fire Department officials said they appreciate every one, and feel honored to serve the 110 square miles that make up their coverage area, from the James to the Chickahominy River.

“We’re so grateful for the consistent support we’ve received from the community we’ve served for more than 50 years,” said department president Phillip Murdock. “It manifests itself in so many different ways.”

Murdock remembers the woman who was seriously injured in a crash who came by a few months later to thank the emergency responders who worked on her. He also remembers the seemingly countless families who suffered losses in fires, but were grateful to firefighters for the photos and other irreplaceable things they saved.

Both Murdock and James City-Bruton fire chief David Nice said they’re lucky to have a great working relationship with James City County’s professional fire squad as well as with the county, which helps fund them.

James City-Bruton is a combination fire department, with four professional firefighters and a fleet of volunteers who give hundreds of hours of their time to train and respond to calls.

Nice said his firefighters believe in the work they do, and are happy when people who they’ve met on calls come back to see them.

“Thank you so much for taking the time to let the (squad) know you’re thankful for what they did,” Nice said. “Those are the things that drive and motivate us to do what we do.”

Nice also encouraged the community to call them not only in emergencies, but if there’s something where they think the fire department can be off assistance.

“Our department is always open to the community. We encourage people to stop by, bring their kids and to call on us,” Nice said.


                                                       Police and Education Reporter Michele Canty 

Volunteer 'embodies the spirit of Thanksgiving'

WILLIAMSBURG — The Beach Boys sang “Be True To Your School,” and Eric Stone, who is technical assistant to Williamsburg Fire Chief William Dent and serves at the department’s public information officer takes that seriously.

Stone, 55, has been with the fire department for 35 years and a volunteer at Lafayette High School for 19.

His wife recently retired after teaching 31 years in the James City County Schools and he has a daughter — “She’s a graduate of Lafayette” — finishing her doctorate at Old Dominion University.

“It’s about giving back to the community and to the school, I’m an alumnus of Lafayette,” he said..

“Eric Stone devotes the majority of his time to his community. Everyone in Williamsburg knows who he is,” said Dent. “He’s always helping young kids find their way, opening his home to those in need of a place to stay, driving them to school or work. I believe he embodies the spirit of Thanksgiving.”

Stone said he mostly helps with the football team. But not just on the field.

“They have community service projects that they do,” he said.

This week the football players will be helping to feed the homeless. It’s hard to think of anything that more exemplifies the spirit of Thanksgiving than that.

                                                City of Williamsburg and Business Reporter Steve Vaughan

Copyright © 2019, The Virginia Gazette