HAYSI, Va. (WJHL) — Haysi volunteer fire chief Rocky Wood’s body was returned to his hometown with a police escort Friday night as friends and colleagues mourn the first responder.
Wood was serving as an incident commander on a 15-acre wildfire in Buchanan County when he was killed in an ATV accident.
Wood served as a first responder with the Virginia Department of Forestry for over 25 years and was vice mayor of Haysi at the time of his death.
Friends and co-workers said Wood loved to help others however he could.
“He’s helped us again, volunteer for anything we needed in our agency, you know, be it ice storms, or tree clearing and fallen hurricane or tornado type debris,” said John Miller, who worked with wood as director of fire and emergency response in the Department of Forestry.
Miller said Wood was especially helpful as a mentor and ATV instructor for new forest service employees. The pair fought fires together across the region.
Those who benefited from Wood’s decades of experience as a volunteer firefighter say he will be missed.
Lisa Mullins grew up in Southwest Virginia with Wood.
“When I heard the news, it was very devastating,” Mullins said.
He responded when her house burned down years ago. It’s a memory that’s stuck with Mullins.
“He was a really sweet person,” Mullins said. “Involved in a community, family man, he was just a wonderful person.”
The fire that Wood was fighting in Buchanan County is now contained and under control.