To retired Atlanta Fire Chief D.M. Chamberlin Sr., there are three categories of heroes.
One saves people at a severe personal risk, another mentors others to do the same and the third puts policies and procedures in place to keep people safe.
Hall County Fire Services’ first chief Larry Wayne Williams accomplished the trifecta, Chamberlin said.
Williams, 72, of Maysville, died Thursday at his residence.
Williams served as Hall fire chief from 1971 to 1979, later becoming a program specialist at the Georgia Fire Academy. He retired as the Smyrna fire chief in April 2005 after 20 years of service.
“Chief Williams was a major contributor to the fire service during his 41-year career and touched an unknown amount of lives throughout the State of Georgia,” Hall County Fire Services wrote on its social media.
Chamberlin said Williams approached county commissioners about establishing a county fire department, which was later put on the ballot after some convincing.
“He personally went around and knocked on the doors, and when the ballot was voted on, the county approved it,” Chamberlin said.
Jon Williams, the fire chief’s son, said he and his brother both entered public service and always considered Gainesville home. Jeremy Williams is a firefighter in Athens, and Jonathan Williams retired from the Gainesville Police Department.
“He was always willing to give something, to leave everybody better than (when) he found them,” Jon Williams said of his father.
A memorial service will be held Sunday at The Chantry at The Grove. Interment will follow in The Grove Cemetery. The family will receive friends at the funeral home 5-8 p.m. Saturday night
Little-Ward Funeral Home in Commerce is in charge of arrangements.