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With the recent passing of longtime Lancaster County public servant Fred Plyler, former Lancaster County school superintendent John Wall said he lost a “good friend.”
The same could be said of Lancaster County, which was a better place because Plyler did plenty of good work here.
He set a high standard as a magistrate, county road commissioner, an original Lancaster County Council member, a former president and board member of the Lancaster County Farm Bureau and a founding member of the Buford Volunteer Fire Department.
“He was a very humble person who had the heart of a servant,” said the Rev. Jackie Connelly of Tabernacle United Methodist Church where Plyler was a life-long member.
Before Plyler began a career of public service in his native Lancaster County, he served his country as a gunner aboard a B-24 Liberator bomber out of Norwich, England’s 93rd Bomb Group, 409 Squadron.
He flew 21 missions over Germany in World War II and earned the Air Medal for Meritorious Achievement.
When he returned to Lancaster County, he began a long tenure of service in various roles and handled each well.
Plyler was part of the work force in the Buford community where he grew up and attended school, serving as manager of the Buford Milling Company, a job he worked for some 37 years.
Plyler, wanting the best for his community, was one of the founding members of the Buford Volunteer Fire Department and later served as chief.
That love of service and dedication to the community is why the Buford Volunteer Fire Department remains strong and others in the county have taken shape.
He wore several hats as a public servant, including two terms as a Lancaster County councilman.
He had a reputation of spending taxpayer money wisely and always seeking to get the most of the tax money.
He also pushed for quality education, knowing it would impact generations of young people.
“Fred was a good man, a community man who put others before himself,” said Lindsay Pettus, who served on council with Plyler. “He worked very hard for the Buford community, and not only that, but Lancaster County as well. And to me, you can’t get any better than that.”
Plyler also served his church at Tabernacle United Methodist, a place dear to his heart.
Even in death, he set an example. When he died at the Wayne T. Patrick Hospice House in Rock Hill on Dec. 10, he was battling cancer for the fourth time.
Plyler was a man who exemplified getting the most out of life. He did, and did so with zeal and the idea of making a positive impact.
Lancaster County has lost a good friend, but his life of service gives us a quality path to follow for generations to come.