A McDowell firefighter with a family history of public service was honored for his five decades of dedication to the community.

Last Saturday, volunteer firefighter David Morgan of Glenwood Fire Department was honored by friends, family, local agencies and state politicians in a surprise event for 50 years of service.

“I didn’t know how to feel,” said Morgan, who was not told of the event beforehand. “I celebrated my 50th year with the department in July and I guess I just forgot about it, so I was really startled by it all.”

Officially joining the station in 1968 when he turned 18, Morgan’s time with the department predates this by five years, as his family was involved when the department started in May 1963.

“I started there when I was about 12 or 13, and my oldest brother and father were there when the station was just getting organized,” said Morgan.

Today, Morgan, now 68, continues to remain involved with the department as a volunteer firefighter and as chairman of the board, with members of his family contributing public service in some fashion from education, law enforcement, fire and rescue and 911 communications.

“Our family is extremely proud of him,” said Amberlie Buff, McDowell 911 Manager. “We are thankful for what he has taught us about dedication. Dad is dedicated to God, church, his family and friends, the Glenwood Ruritan, along with the Glenwood Fire Dept. He was also dedicated to his job with the State for 30 years. He has definitely passed on the importance of committing our time to those things most important and dear to us. He, along with our mom, has given us a heart to care for others.”

To commemorate his five decades with the department, Morgan received the following: a 50 year pin from the agency, presented by his family; a service helmet and shield from Glenwood Fire Chief Donnie Tipton; Order of the Guardian from Commissioner of Insurance Mike Causey, presented by Chet Effler; Order of the Long Leaf Pine and a state flag flown over state capital, presented by N.C. Rep. Josh Dobson; and a U.S. flag flown over Washington, D.C. mailed by U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows.

Reflecting on his 50 years, Morgan admits that the overall experience has had its share of ups and downs.

“There’s been a lot of bad time and a lot of good times,” said Morgan. “It’s been good to help someone when they’re in trouble, and it’s been sad whenever there’s a loss with people or someone’s home.”

Nevertheless, Morgan placed a strong emphasis on the importance of family that’s guided him through the last few decades.

“My family is what’s enabled me to do this. My wife, my children, everyone’s been there in support in some capacity.”

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