Newsoms remembering firefighter with stew sale

Published 10:31 am Wednesday, January 7, 2015

When members of the Newsoms Volunteer Fire Department cook up their Brunswick Stew for this weekend’s sale, they’ll be doing so in memory of a man who made the event — and the department — so memorable.

Charles E. “Chuck” Griffith, who died this past June at age 64, was the safety officer and the second-longest active member of the department, having given more than 37 years of his life to service. Griffith was also active with the Newsoms United Methodist Church and served as a youth baseball coach.

According to volunteer firefighter Doug Prince, Griffith was instrumental in organizing the stew sales, which raised money for the department.

“This was Chuck’s baby,” Prince said about the man he also called “The Stewmaster.”

Larry Fowler, former chief for 26 years, agreed with the title.

“He was well-known for his stew,” Fowler said. “We sell out every year. He evidently knew what he was doing with it.

“We always joked and carried on while making the stew. We’ll get it as close as possible [to his recipe], but it won’t be the same.”

Now a line officer in the department, Fowler also remembered Griffith’s dedication, such as making sure that Newsoms was represented in area parades.

Prince said that not only would the fundraiser be done in Griffith’s name, but the event will continue annually.

The money raised will be used for everyday expenses of the fire department, such as replacing the turnout gear that the firefighters must wear, Prince said. The cost for such equipment can range in price from $400 to $600 per person.

He relayed words of gratitude from department chief Jonathan Hinson:

“I would like to thank the community for supporting us at this and other events,” Hinson said.

The stew sale takes place from 4 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 10, at the town’s fire department on General Thomas Highway, and is for take-out only. The cost is $7 per quart.

To place orders, call Prince at 434-632-0818, or any of the other volunteer firefighters.