When James Island decided it needed its own fire department, Tom Smith Epting
flipped pancakes and washed cars to raise money for the necessary equipment. Forty-seven years and countless volunteer hours later, Epting has been named an honorary lifetime member of the James Island Public Service District Fire Department by the PSD Commission.
In addition to helping get equipment, including 500-gallon-per-minute "pumpers," a rescue truck and uniforms, Epting
recruited volunteer and paid firefighters for the new department. He was the volunteer chief in charge of the volunteers and trained both the unpaid and paid firefighters. "He was one of my mentors when I was a kid," said commission Vice Chairman Donald A. Hollingsworth, who recommended Epting for the award.
was always willing to talk, Rhodes
If people got discouraged, Epting
would give them the "win one for the Gipper" speech and they would perk right up.
...Epting was a volunteer firefighter for the JIPSD Fire Department, Charleston Fire Department and St. Andrews Public Service District Fire Department, which served James Island before 1961.
The James Island resident served as president of the S.C. State Firefighters Association
and chairman of its training committee, and was inducted into the association's Hall of Fame. Epting, who is now 76 and working as a construction superintendent, was reluctant to talk about his contributions.
"It was just service to your community," Epting