Earl M. Hemphill‚ 61‚ career chief‚ Russell City Fire Department‚ died April 11‚ 2002‚ when he was struck by a fire truck after the brakes failed as he directed traffic at the scene of a motor vehicle accident. A U. S. Navy veteran‚ he joined the fire department as a volunteer‚ and worked as an electrician. He was an active firefighter for 35 years‚ including 20 as chief. Hemphill was known for the progressive training he provided for members of the department. Several firefighters who served under him as volunteers‚ including his son‚ have gone on to careers in the fire service.
He was a quiet kind of leader. You don’t have to raise your voice when everyone is waiting to hear what you have to say.