Jimmy was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama on September 22, 1953 and passed away surrounded by loved ones August 6, 2020. He grew up with 4 siblings, Don, Karen, Tommy, and Joy. With five kids in the house, Bill and Lucile Callahan had their hands full. The Callahans moved several times and eventually landed in Springville, Alabama, where he met and married his high school sweetheart, Kathy Galbreath Callahan. They married August 1, 1971 and had a beautiful baby girl the next year. With the Vietnam War going on, Jimmy wanted to serve his country. He joined the National Guard in 1972 and was deployed twice over the years; once during Desert Storm and during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Jimmy was a whiz at building and fixing things and worked many years in construction. However, when he and Kathy had two more girls in 1981 and 1983, he needed a steadier income and a job that provided benefits for his family. He took a job at the St. Clair County Correctional Facility. He often saw the worst of humanity and was even attacked with a razor by a prisoner, but he never complained about his chosen career. He was just doing what had to be done to take care of his family. During that time, he got his GED and went to school to get his certification to be a Firefighter/EMT. He was a member of Springville Volunteer Fire Department and served with them for many years. When it became clear that there was a need for fire protection for people outside the Springville city limits, he helped found the Davis Lake Volunteer Fire Department in 1999. He was their first fire chief and served in that role until 2005 when he was deployed to Germany with the National Guard. He retired from the correctional facility in 2015 and spent his time doing a variety of hobbies and keeping his grandkids.
Jimmy didn’t do anything halfway. When he started a hobby, he invested all his time, energy, and usually a good bit of money in that hobby. He enjoyed hunting and fishing. He had a love of oldies music. His girls grew up listening to Frankie Vallie, the Beach Boys, and the Beatles. He loved old cars and could tell you the make and models of vintage cars, even restoring a 1957 Chevrolet to pristine condition. He was an expert on airplanes. He knew what each airplane was, what it was used for, and what war it was used in. He could do the same with guns and was an expert marksman on the pistol team at the correctional facility. He had strong opinions on food. Some might even call him picky. However, he loved fried chicken and plain, white rice.
Jimmy was preceded in death by his father, Bill Callahan, and his brother, Don Callahan. He is survived by his mother, Lucile, his beautiful wife of 49 years, Kathy, his daughters, Alysia (Steven) Reisman, Brandi (Scott) Churchill, and Celeste (David) Romano. He is also survived by his seven grandkids: Sarah and Katie Reisman, Kinley, Carson and Lucy Churchill, and Elizabeth and Anna Romano. He is also survived by his siblings Karen (Steven) Porterfield, Tommy (Jackie) Callahan, and Joy (Wes) Samford. He has numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins that will miss him. He was an extraordinary person and hero to many.
Visitation will be at Springville First United Methodist Church in the CLC on August 12, 2020. A family only visitation will be from 11 am to 12 pm. A public visitation will start at noon and the service will begin at one. Jimmy will be interred at Springville Cemetery with a military graveside service. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Davis Lake Fire Department or Springville First United Methodist Church.
Davis Lake Fire District officials say legislation could slow response time
SPRINGVILLE – Former Chairman of the Board for the Davis Lake Fire District Larry Shores said legislation proposed by Sen. Jim McClendon (R-Springville) could slow emergency response time in life or death situations in the fire district.
According to the Alabama Legislature website, the proposed legislation was filed by McClendon on Feb. 18, read for the first time and referred to the Senate Committee on Local Legislation.
Shores said the bill would cut fire dues in half, from $150 to $75, and remove enforcement ability by the Davis Lake Fire District Board to collect unpaid fees.
“We can’t operate on that,” Shores said. “He is going to put us out of business.”
McClendon said he had received complaints about the fire department and about the fire dues. He said the dues are much higher than other volunteer fire departments.
“The annual fee to be paid by an owner of a structure (is) not to exceed $75 for a residence or commercial building,” proposed Senate Bill 193 states.
But Jim Garrett, public information officer for Davis Lake Paid/Volunteer Fire District, said the senator is comparing apples to oranges.
The comparison McClendon has offered is with fire departments that do not have paid certified EMT, paramedics and firefighters, offering 24-hour, seven-day-a-week emergency and fire services.
Garrett said the fire district fee, which went into effect in 2018, raises enough money to staff the fire department 24/7 for emergency fire and medical coverage.
Garrett gave an example of how response time has been reduced: If he was a volunteer firefighter and his neighbor had a heart attack, he would first have to drive to the fire station to get the emergency truck and equipment before driving back to his neighbor’s home and administering emergency medical action.
But, because the current fee is in place, paid personnel at the fire department can respond immediately with the proper equipment when someone in the fire district calls 911.
Davis Lake Fire Department officials said the improved emergency services were possible because residents in the Davis Lake Fire District overwhelmingly voted for the annual $150 fee, which is $12.50 per month.
McClendon suggested that many voters were unaware of the $150 fire dues before the 2018 elections.
The establishment of the fire district fee was placed on the 2018 ballot, and Davis Lake officials said it was McClendon who was instrumental in getting it on the ballot for a vote.
“Everyone knew about this,” Shores said. “We went door-to-door trying to get support. Sure, there were a few people who had a problem with it, but that’s like anything else. The vast majority of the people supported this fee and what it would do.”
Davis Lake officials said 72 percent of the voters voted in favor of the new fire dues.
Shores said the matter was properly advertised and the wording on the ballot was explicit.
“Do you favor the establishment of the Davis Lake Volunteer Fire Department as a fire district under Act 2017-265 of the 2017 Regular Session of the Alabama Legislature and the levy of a fire protection fee in the amount of $150 per year on each residence or commercial building in the district to be collected commencing Oct. 1, 2018, which shall be used only for fire protection services? YES OR NO,” the ballot question read.
Davis Lake Fire District Board member Donald Toole said because someone is at the fire department 24/7, response times for emergency calls have been cut by more than half. He said in life-or-death situations, that reduction in time is crucial to someone’s survival or to saving someone’s home from fire.
Shores said because of the change from a volunteer fire department to a fire district with paid professional emergency workers, first responders can now administer or dispense lifesaving drugs on the scene of medical calls.
Without the continued flow of funds approved by the voters in 2018, that service would not be possible, Shores said, adding that the fire department may be able to keep up its current emergency services for another year, but proper funding would run out in about one year if McClendon’s bill is approved.
Shores said with a stroke of a pen, McClendon is trying to do away with a vital service that the residents of Davis Lake Fire District voted for overwhelmingly.
The Davis Lake Fire Department has started a petition asking Gov. Kay Ivey to veto the bill if the legislation moves forward.
Garrett said residents are asked to come by the fire department and sign the petition.