SMITHS STATION, Ala (WRBL) –  Smiths Station’s longtime Volunteer Fire Chief has dedicated his life to serving his community. Chief Joe Walden’s primary goal is to help families in need during house fires and medical emergencies.  Walden is also known to go above and beyond to help others when he’s not in his turnout gear.

Monday, roles were reversed for Chief Joe Walden as he became the person in need of support after a fire at his home. The blaze did significant damage to the inside of Chief Walden’s home. We are told the structure was saved; however, the interior of the house was ruined due to smoke and water damage. It’s a total loss.

Leann Bolt started a Go Fund Me account Monday afternoon for Chief Walden and his family.

“He always bends over backward for the community & everyone he knows in any way he can. So now it’s our time to help Joe & his family. All help is greatly appreciated,” Bolt shared on the post.

Deputy Fire Chief Daniel Sexton tells News 3, Chief Walden has been a member of Smiths Station Fire & Rescue since returning home from serving in the Navy in 1994.

“He’s volunteered countless hours and responded to thousands of calls in Smiths Station over the last 24 years and has been serving as Chief since 2011 and has been an invaluable part of the modernization that has taken place over the last few years,” said Sexton.

Sexton tells News 3 unfortunately it appears remote controlled toys belonging to Walden’s grandchildren may have sparked the fire.

“For me it’s especially heartbreaking when it’s a person & family that devotes as much time and energy to their community as Joe & his family does,” said Sexton.

Sexton says the firefighters, EMT’s and Paramedics and volunteers at SSFR come into contact with citizens in unfortunate circumstances every day, and while it’s sad to see folks on their worst day, we volunteer our time to help them through those days. Community leaders believe Chief Walden has set the tone for the volunteer department.

“Chief Joseph Walden is a pillar of the community and a great friend, ” said Mayor Bubba Copeland.

So far the Go Fund Me account has raised $930 for the Volunteer Fire Chief and his family.  If you would like to make a donation, you can click on this link: Go Fund Me Smiths Station Fire Chief’s House Fire.

Our thoughts remain with Chief Walden and his family.