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Remembering Fire Chief Agee

The Buckingham community lost a beloved leader when longtime Glenmore Volunteer Fire Department (GVFD) Fire Chief Pete Agee died Monday.

A man dedicated to both his family and his community, Agee served as a member of the GVFD for more than 50 years, including serving as fire chief for 47 years.

Agee’s lifetime of work was recognized in January at the Buckingham Chamber of Commerce’s 2018 Annual Awards Banquet, where he received the Chamber’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Chamber Vice-President Thomas Jordan Miles III, who nominated Agee for the award, listed Agee’s rich history of service with the fire department.

“He lead the volunteer agency through many different changes. He was able to lead them with great poise and respect, kind of that quiet confidence. That’s part of the reason why I nominated him for the Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Achievement Award — because he’s always been a quiet leader,” said Miles.

Agee’s dedication to serving the community lead to three generations of firefighters. His son, Keith Agee, as well as his grandson Trevor, followed in Agee’s footsteps to become members of GVFD.

“I don’t know how to explain it,” Agee’s son stated. “That was my father. That was my fire chief. That was my boss. Everything that he was involved in, pretty much, I was involved in. We worked together every day. It’s been very hard.”

Agee, an active member of Glenmore United Methodist Church, was described by his son as a charitable man with a nature for helping others and asking nothing in return. “If there was any maintenance that needed to be done, groundskeeping, painting … he took it over, spearheaded it and got it done. He didn’t want any recognition for it. He has done stuff that we have found out that my mother has found out, by people telling on what he did. But nobody knew. That’s just the way he was.”

In addition to his work with the fire department, Agee started his own successful business, Dillwyn Repair Service.

“He took a lot of pride at what he did there,” noted Agee’s friend Bob Murphy. “He didn’t like anything going out of that door that wasn’t fixed properly. I’ll always remember him for this. Everybody has family, but friends are the ones who choose their family. I chose him. He was a good friend. I won’t forget him anytime soon. He prided himself in his work, and he was a family man. He put them first.”

“His truck,” Murphy considered, “was second place.”

Agee also carried with him a passion for car restoration, racing, and tractor pulling. Dennis Taylor, a longtime friend and customer of Dillwyn Repair Service, said, “Pete Agee was a very competitive man when it came to his race cars and pulling trucks. It’s only been two weeks ago, I was at the shop and he was all excited about his new pulling truck. He’d just purchased it and was doing a lot of work to it.”

Taylor recalled that Agee owned a pulling truck in the ’80s that he named “Community Effort,” a fitting title. He also recalled that Agee planned on naming his new truck “Community Effort 2.”

“That’s going to be my best memory of Pete,” Taylor added.

“He’s always been a person that was a pillar in the community and a strong advocate for the fire department in his area,” said Arvonia Fire Chief Chris Davis. “He was always someone that you could rely on and work well with during an emergency. He had a lot of wisdom from being in the fire service for so long, a lot of things that you just don’t get being in it for a short-term. He was willing to pass some of that knowledge along. He never got worked up. He was always calm and collected. Very seldom would he ever get rattled up during a bad emergency. People could learn a lot by just watching him and seeing what he did. He was a very good man, that’s for sure.”

“Pete and I married into the same family and I consider him my brother-in-law,” said family member Dot Ragland. “He’s a very dedicated community person. He was very active in our church. He was a person who could just make things happen, and most of the time he tried to do it on his own. He was just a person that loved the community, loved the fire department, loved his church and was willing to do whatever he could to make this community the community that it is.”

In addition to his many other accomplishments, Agee celebrated 51 years of marriage to his wife, Vernelle Agee.

“It’s just been overwhelming,” Agee’s wife added in reference to the community’s reaction of her husband’s passing. “Even with his illness, before five years ago when he first found out he had pancreatic cancer, he didn’t stay out of that fire. He went when he didn’t feel like it. He loved it.”