William E. Akin‚ Jr. was 54 years old when he lost his life on the way to a fire call on October 19‚ 2010. He had been an active/life member of the Ghent Volunteer Fire Company No.1 in New York state for over 40 years before he became captain of the fire police. He had received awards throughout his career‚ but his most prized award came at our firemen’s banquet‚ the Lyle Wager Fireman of the Year Award in 2003.
Bill was born on June 29‚ 1956 to William E. Akin‚ Sr. and Ann Rossman. He married Rita C. Schermerhorn on May 7‚ 1977. We would have been married 34 years this year. We have two children‚ William E. Akin III‚ who will marry Jennifer Rockefeller in November 2011‚ and a daughter‚ Ashley A. Butta‚ who married Nick in June 2011. They are also expecting our first grandchild‚ a son.
Bill joined the Ghent Fire Company because he wanted to be a part of his community. He was also a member of the Ghent VFW Social Sons‚ The Ghent Sportman’s Club‚ and Christ Lutheran Church. He worked at many fundraisers to help his community and proudly marched for his fire company. He was especially proud when our fire company hosted the Columbia County Firemen’s Convention in July 2010. He was there working on all the details and was very excited about it being in our home town. It was a beautiful day‚ and everyone had a fantastic time.
Over the years‚ Bill and I built our own home‚ raised two children‚ and enjoyed our life together. We took our kids to North Carolina yearly and to Disney and enjoyed our time together as a family. We enjoyed several cruises together and did a lot of camping. Thankfully‚ we didn’t wait until retirement to do the things that we wanted to do together since‚ unknown to us‚ that day would never come. Bill and I were very close. We didn’t care if it was just the two of us or 20 of us; we always had a good time and were happy just to be together.
Bill was a quiet‚ gentle man. He had a wonderful smile and a great laugh. He enjoyed camping‚ fishing‚ being a firefighter‚ and being with family and friends. I am proud to have been his wife. We have had a wonderful life full of love and friendship that few have. His friends and family love and miss him dearly.
We are so proud to have him honored at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial and to have his name placed on the brick Walk of Honor®.