Hill remembered for devotion to Sevier County Rescue Squad

Dec. 07, 2013 @ 11:46 PM

James "Jim" Hill, one of the founding members of the Sevier County Volunteer Rescue Squad, died Wednesday. In 1959, Hill helped organize the squad that he devoted 54 years to, and over the years he held many positions within it, including chief, captain, lieutenant, unit director and instructor.

According to Rescue Squad Chief Todd Spence, Hill was devoted to the squad even in his final days.

"He was still active," Spence said. "He was here every Friday for 24 hours, and that's not including any kind of training or special events we had going on."

Spence knew Hill for 15 years, and he said it hasn't hit him yet that Hill is gone. "I really can't believe he's gone," Spence said. "I'm so used to seeing him when I walk through the halls, and hearing him talking."

Hill was a mentor and someone rescue squad members looked up to, Spence said.

Spence said he will miss small things the most.

"Just sitting out here in the bay, garage doors open and talking about anything and everything," Spence said."Current situations, politics, presidents, you name it. He could be out there for hours on end talking to you."

The rescue squad plans to honor Hill in several different ways. His family will be presented with several awards for Hill on Saturday night at the rescue squad's Christmas party, including the lifetime award, which Spence described as being the highest honor one could achieve in the rescue squad. The squad also plans to retire his radio number, 416.

"We're also starting a program that is named Explore Post 416 in memory of him, and we're going to set up a fund on behalf of him," Spence said. The fund "it will send some students to EMT school if they can't pay for it due to their financial situation. Money will be there to help them better themselves."

Spence will be missed, Spence said. "He was one of the pioneers of the emergency medical services in Sevier County, and in Tennessee. He's sorely missed and we'll never forget him."

Donations may be made in Hill's memory to the Sevier County Volunteer Rescue Squad, P.O. Box 4277, Sevierville, Tenn. 37864.