Firefighter passes away in motorcycle accident
By CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT / Staff Writer
Brierfield firefighter Justin Gillen was killed in a motorcycle accident on March 24.
“We think he had a blowout on the front tire of the motorcycle, and he lost control and ran into a telephone pole,” said Brierfield Fire Chief Spruce McRee.
McRee has known Gillen for about eight years as a volunteer with Brierfield Volunteer Fire and Rescue, and said the 27-year-old volunteer was “all about” helping the community.
“No matter what was going on, if there was something at the fire department, he was always there,” McRee said. “He dearly loved the fire service, but loved his family even more.”
Gillen is survived by his wife, Paige, 10-year-old son Tyler and 3-year-old daughter, Jenna.
According to McRee, Gillen, who lived in Thorsby, recently had found a full-time job, but had yet to qualify for insurance benefits at his new position. Therefore, his family has no insurance coverage for final and ongoing expenses.
Brierfield Volunteer Fire and Rescue recently set up the Alabama chapter of the Terry Farrell Firefighter’s Fund to help families of fallen firefighters. Gillen’s family would benefit from monies donated to the fund in Gillen’s name.
“He was all in all the time. He was a bundle of energy that basically would do anything for anybody,” McRee said. “Anything we had going on, he was there. He won many awards for outstanding achievement for several years.
“He’s the kind of guy I wish I had about 10 more of,” he added.
A visitation will be held March 29 from 6-8 p.m. at Rockco’s Funeral Home on Alabama 25 in Montevallo. The funeral service will be Friday, March 30 at 11 a.m. at the funeral home. Gillen will be given a full fire service funeral.
McRee said 100 percent of donations in Gillen’s name will go to his family. Donations may be sent to The Terry Farrel Firefighter’s Fund – Alabama Chapter, Justin Gillen, c/o The Alabama Fire College, 2501 Phoenix Drive, Tuscaloosa, AL 35405.