By Debbie Gregory
Lafayette Fire Chief Keith Scruggs was called to his eternal home on Friday, May 26, and he leaves behind a host of family, friends and colleagues who are mourning the loss of this career firefighter.
Chief Scruggs has been an asset to this community and county throughout the years and the Macon County Chronicle would like to pay tribute to this life-long public servant, who was always there, no matter what, when he was called upon to help.
Keith’s career spans over four decades beginning in 1974 when he joined the Lafayette Fire Department, becoming Chief in 1999. During his 40 year career he also served the citizens as the Emergency Management Director, Fire & Building Codes Inspector, and he was a charter member of the Macon County Rescue Squad.
Chief Scruggs had a strong work ethic and the determination to face any challenges. His death has brought great sadness to our community and many kind words have been spoken on his behalf.
“Keith Scruggs had many names,” said Todd Waggoner, of the Lafayette Fire Department. “Father, grandfather, son, brother, husband, mentor and friend all come to mind. I have used a couple of these names, but it is my honor, along with many others to call him Chief.”
“Chief Scruggs dedicated his life to the citizens of Lafayette and Macon County, and he is the only member of the Lafayette Fire Department who was hired without being a volunteer first,” said Waggoner. “Many of us owe our careers and love of the fire service to Chief Scruggs. We are all better men, women, and firefighters because of his leadership, mentorship, and friendship. Chief, we love you, miss you, and will keep trying to make you proud of us.”
Chief Danny Dozier of the Willette Fire Department says that he has known Chief Scruggs for over 25 years and he has always been there when he needed help. “Keith is the first person I would call when something came up that I didn’t know and he would always have the answer. Everybody looked up to him and he will be missed by everyone who knew him. He is leaving the City of Lafayette and Macon County with one of the best fire departments in the state in my opinion, and he is leaving it in good hands with Troy Brawner, Don Stevens, Phillip Smith, Todd Waggoner and the rest of the squad. We can all look forward to seeing him again someday when our life here is over. May God bless his family.”
Chief Randall Bray of the RBS Fire Department says that Chief Scruggs was a good friend to him as well as a mentor when he became the RBS fire chief. “He was always willing to help me if I had a problem and I could talk to him about anything,” said Chief Bray. “He said being a fire chief wasn’t an easy job, but you had to move forward and do what had to be done. He will be sadly missed by everyone in the fire service.”
“Billy Keith Scruggs, or Chief Scruggs, as he was known by everyone, dedicated over half his life to the City of Lafayette and the Lafayette Fire Department,” said City Mayor Richard Driver. “From fireman to Fire Chief, Keith has continued to serve and protect not only the citizens of Lafayette, but also the citizens of Macon County. His involvement with the Lafayette Regional Planning Commission and the City of Lafayette Codes Department helped to shape the future of our City. His service, dedication, and commitment to the City of Lafayette will always be remembered. Rest in peace Billy Keith Scruggs.”
Said County Mayor Steve Jones, “Keith Scruggs and I had worked together since the 1970’s and he went in the direction of leadership with the Lafayette Fire Department. He became fire chief as well as the Emergency Management Director for Macon County. When the tornado hit our county in 2008, he did a remarkable job in managing everything that took place that night and during the days that followed this tragedy.”
“The thing I admired the most about Keith is that he could remember everything that happened here in Macon County,” said Mayor Jones. “If I needed to know about something that had occurred, I would have to call Keith, and sure enough he would know. Macon County has lost a valuable resource in Keith, with the knowledge and experience he had. He was very well respected by all the emergency agencies and liked by all his colleagues. I know it is a sad time right now for the Lafayette Fire Department, but they will continue on and use everything they learned from Chief Scruggs to keep the department heading in the right direction. Keith has done an admirable job and we will miss him.”
“Who was Chief Scruggs,” said senior firefighter Steven Johnson. “He was a father, a husband, a brother and a friend. He was an ear when you needed to be heard. He loved his family both at home and at the fire hall.”
“The chief had many sides,” continued Johnson. “He loved to race, to treasure hunt with a metal detector and he loved auctions. Chief Scruggs taught me a lot and he helped me through some troubling times in my life.”
“Chief Scruggs did his job and he did it well,” added Johnson. “The squad will use everything he taught us to lead the Lafayette Fire Department in the direction that he wanted. We won’t let Chief Scruggs down.”
As Chief Scruggs drew his last breath, with his wife Pam by his side, she knew he was leaving a blessing with her, his other family members and the Lafayette firefighters, that he would be watching over them all from Heaven.
Chief Scruggs death has affected us all, and for those of us left behind, we will never forget him.
Rest in peace Chief Scruggs, from all of us.
Besides his wife, Pam Cothron Scruggs, Keith is survived by daughter, Mandy Scruggs & son BJ Scruggs; two grandchildren, Madison & Landon Scruggs; two step daughters, Holly Comer & Hillary McCall; 4 step grandchildren, Josie & Luke McCall, and Austin & Drew Comer; mother, Doris Doss and step-dad Benny Doss; two sisters, Jacqueline Massengille & her husband Steve; and Tonya Wells & her husband Marty; and a niece, Lauren Trask.
(See next week’s edition of the Macon County Chronicle for the complete obituary and a picture tribute to Chief Scruggs)