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Cauthen, Blackwelder deserve hall honors

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To earn entry to a hall of fame is quite a feat. To have two from one area earn election to a hall is extra special. Lancaster County is quite fortunate for the latter in regards to the S.C. Firefighters Hall of Fame.
The Firefighters Hall inducted two fire chiefs from Lancaster County during its recent enshrinement at Myrtle Beach.
Retired Pleasant Valley Volunteer Fire Department Chief Paul Blackwelder and the late Elgin Volunteer Fire Department Chief Dennis Cauthen were inducted during the S.C. Firefighters Association Conference in Myrtle Beach on June 4-9.
Blackwelder devoted 54 years to the PVFD, where he began his service in 1955. He served as chief from 1973 until 2009, when he retired from the northern Lancaster County department. He also served as one of the first members of the Lancaster County Fire Commission and is still the PVFD’s safety officer.
Blackwelder’s nomination was based on his “exemplary service and dedication to the department.”
Blackwelder said dedication and hard work were a major part of his service to the Pleasant Valley Fire Department and he was grateful to the department’s firefighters for the nomination.
“I was just glad I could do what I did for the fire department over the years – help them grow and do their job to save people’s lives and property,” he said. “I’ve been glad I could serve my community in a way that it benefited everyone pretty much equally.”
Cauthen, like Blackwelder, was dedicated to his community and the fire department he served.
He died of a heart attack after responding to a fire in Lancaster last August.
Cauthen’s service included 31 years with the Elgin Volunteer Fire Department, including 15 as its chief.
He was also chairman of the Lancaster County Fire Commission during that time and an adjunct instructor at the S.C. Fire Academy.
He was honored earlier this spring during a memorial service at the S.C. Fire Academy in Columbia as a fallen firefighter.
“He was special to me and I’m thankful that he was special enough to other people that they’d nominate him for the hall of fame,” said his wife, Teresa. “He loved and helped so many people, we should all follow in his footsteps.”
Cauthen and Blackwelder are wonderful examples of people who put their lives on the line each time they answered the call to action. We’re fortunate they dedicated their lives to make life better in our community.
They are humble and dedicated people who are most deserving of their elite place among the state’s best firefighters.