DICKENSON COUNTY, Va. (WJHL) – A prominent first responder in Southwest Virginia is on the mend after emergency surgery to remove a brain tumor.

Mark McCowan has spent over 35 years with the Clinchco Volunteer Fire Department (VFD) helping his community and keeping his neighbors safe. When he was diagnosed with a brain tumor in mid-August, his first responder family rallied around him.

From co-workers to complete strangers, McCowan received well-wishes from across the region as he awaited emergency surgery. After some delays, his procedure was greenlit and he went under the knife on August 30, his chief told News Channel 11.

The procedure took several hours, but McCowan was awake and talking to his family by the end of the day.

“Our brother is awake and hungry,” Clinchco VFD chief Nathaniel Mullins said in a Facebook post. “He said that he would try to make some phone calls tomorrow if he felt like it. He’s ready to try to get up and walk he said. He will be in hot pursuit soon.”