MALDEN, WV (WOWK) – The Malden Volunteer Fire Department (VFD) was chartered on April 23, 1952 – 70 years ago. Members of the community were welcomed to come out and enjoy a nice meal Saturday afternoon and look back on how far they’ve come as an organization.

But what really makes the Malden VFD so special is its rich history of family and community. “My father was one of them that was here when it was chartered and I’ve been here now for 53 years,” said Chief Squeak Peterson.

“If you look at the memberships of this department, you see multi-generations of the same family that have served on this department,” says JD Waggoner, who serves on departments board and was Chief before Peterson.

In fact, in Malden’s 70 years, they’ve only seen three fire chiefs. Peterson, Waggoner, and the late Cecil A. Lewis. And although the department is proud of their long-standing members, they’re always looking for more. “We definitely need the young people again. We don’t have them the way we used to and we need them or organizations like this aren’t going to last much longer,” said Peterson.

It’s especially critical because firefighters are one of the first people to respond when there’s an emergency. “I joined as a teenager thinking it’d be something to do. You quickly find out when you start to run house fires or automobile accidents that you’re really helping people in your community. You’re directly helping people,” said Waggoner.

70 years of being a pillar in the small community. “It’s more than just a response in the community. It truly is family,” added Waggoner.