The grounds of the Monelison Volunteer Fire Department were a hotbed of fellowship, food, fun and reminiscing during the Madison Heights agency’s 60th anniversary celebration.

Current and former members and their loved ones were among the large crowd that gathered to mark the milestone.

“It’s kind of like a family reunion,” said Ernie Cash, a former department chief.

The department recognized all of its chiefs, Mack Crouch and Aaron Coppedge, two volunteers who lost their lives serving the agency in the first 30 years of its existence, as well as late Amherst Fire Department member Tim Pigg; and Pat Day, Monelison’s first female firefighter who joined in 1986.

Day, among the gatherers Saturday, said she served for nearly 20 years and still would today if she and her husband, former chief Lee Day, hadn’t moved to Bedford. They were the first couple to serve in emergency service in Amherst County, according to the department.

Amherst County supervisor Jimmy Ayers thanked the many volunteers who served the department for 60 years. Today it has nearly 30 volunteers.

“They receive not one dime for the nights, days, weekends, holidays, whatever it may be - when the need arises, they are there to serve us,” Ayers said. “We as a community, we have to support them.”

Photojournalist for The News & Advance

Reach Emily at (434) 385-5592 or

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