GLADE SPRINGS, Va. (WJHL) — Glade Spring Volunteer Fire Department announced the loss of a junior member firefighter on Tuesday night in a Facebook post.
Smythe died Monday following an unexpected medical issue, according to his mother.
Jaden Hunter Smythe, who was also a student at Patrick Henry High School, joined the department in August, the post said.
He was 16 years old.
Glade Spring Assistant Fire Chief Ricky Stumbo met Smythe when he was a school resource officer at Glade Spring Middle School. Stumbo invited him to apply to the junior team, and the rest was history.
“He obviously had a desire to serve,” Stumbo said. “He wanted to do law enforcement with his criminal justice; he wanted to do fire. He just got his CPR certification this week, so he was working to become a community servant.”
Now, locker 20 sits untouched because that journey was cut short, but Smythe’s desire to serve will live on in the Glade Spring community.
“He was usually in here every day he wasn’t at school or work,” Stumbo said. “Whether we had training or not, he was here trying to find somebody to go over the trucks and equipment and be the first on the truck to the calls when they came in.”
Smythe was also an employee of Food Country and recently was invited to attend the National Youth Leadership Forum in Washington, D.C. to study national security.
Stumbo said Smythe has not only made an impact locally but far and wide.
“People from all across the country, other departments are reaching out,” Stumbo said. “They don’t have to know him, he’s still a brother to the fire service throughout the nation.”
Stumbo said that his department will take part in the ceremony, so Smythe will have a firefighters funeral when he is laid to rest Friday afternoon.
The funeral service will begin at 1 p.m. at the chapel of Garrett Funeral Home.
Glade Spring Fire Department will accept donations for Jaden’s family, which can be mailed to PO Box 668, Glade Spring, Va., or by CLICKING HERE.