The Officers and Members of the Witmer Fire Protective Association regret to announce the passing of Assistant Chief Engineer James R. Burkholder on Monday, July 29, 2013. James was affectionately known as “Burky” around the fire station. Burky joined the WFPA in November 1983 and served the Witmer community as a volunteer firefighter for over 29 years. Burky was a dedicated firefighter and apparatus driver and his passion was centered on Witmer’s fire apparatus. Burky served as Chief Engineer from 1986 through 1993 and he was Assistant Chief Engineer from 1994 up until his passing. Burky was also responsible for ensuring that all of Witmer’s gas powered equipment (saws, generators, hydraulic rescue tools) were in good working order at all times. He was a member of the Apparatus Committees that planned and acquired our last three major pieces of apparatus: the 1994 Peterbilt/New Lexington Tanker, the 1998 HME/New Lexington Engine and the 2009 Pierce Arrow XT Engine/Tanker. Burky’s favorite piece of apparatus, however, was Witmer’s 1967 Mack Pumper, which is still today owned by the company as an antique.
Burky was active in the Lancaster County Firemen’s Association, Inc. He served as the Delegate to the Association from Witmer Fire from 2002 through his passing and also as an Alternate Delegate for five years prior. In support of his dedication to fire safety, for several years Burky donated his time and efforts to transport the Lancaster County Firemen’s Association‘s Fire Safety Smoke Trailer to various fire stations and schools all over Lancaster County so that adults and children could be trained in home fire safety.
A Memorial Service will be held at the Witmer Fire Station on Thursday, August 8, 2013. Burky’s remains will be transported in Witmer Fire’s 1967 Mack Pumper to the fire station at approximately 6:00 pm. A procession of Witmer’s Fire Apparatus will accompany Burky from his home in Bareville to the Witmer Fire Station via South Groffdale Road, East Main Street (Route 23), Glenola Drive, Horseshoe Road and Mount Sidney Road. Visitation with family and friends will occur from 6:00 pm until 8:00 pm. At 8:00 pm there will be a Memorial Service held in Burky’s honor. All of Burky’s family and friends, as well as the community, are invited to attend this event to honor Burky’s life and dedication to the community.