Firefighters honoring late chief


SUNBURY — In memory of their late Fire Chief Jeff Wilson, BST&G Fire District firefighters have been wearing special shirts this month with his initials on the side.

“May is brain cancer/tumor awareness month. JW Strong: Chief Jeff Wilson. Go Grey in May!” BST&G posted on Facebook at the start of May.

Wilson had glioblastoma, a cancerous brain tumor. He was diagnosed in 2017 and passed in 2018. Since then, the Chief’s Champions 5k event fundraiser was held, with the final event staged in 2022.

“While we are moving away from the CC5k event, JW Strong will continue to support brain cancer research,” the group said in a Facebook post at the time. And they have.

“Yes, we have ‘retired’ CC5k however, LifePoint Realty and Huston Home Team will be hosting a fundraiser in September,” read a JW Strong post from earlier this month. “Watch for more information to come. This event will be a Pub Crawl style event in Westerville and will raise money for Brain Cancer Research at OhioHealth, on behalf of Chief’s Champions.”

The post linked to a UCI Health story about advances being made with brain tumor vaccines.

“Vaccines are a promising new form of immunotherapy that stimulates the immune system to fight cancer,” said UCI Health, based in Orange, California. “This experimental treatment harnesses the power of your own immune system to find and attack cancer cells. There are currently no approved vaccines for brain tumors, but our experts are looking to change that. We are among an elite group of researchers expanding access to brain tumor vaccines through clinical trials.”

The article went on to say the vaccines had a number of benefits, including longer survival rates, few or no side effects, little discomfort, and doesn’t interfere with other forms of treatment.

The BST&G Fire District, which Wilson served, was founded in 1953.

“One of the most common questions people ask is, ‘What do all those letters stand for?’” said the BST&G website. “The fire district serves Berkshire Township, the City of Sunbury, Trenton Township and the Village of Galena.”

The district’s equipment includes a 3- to 6-person firefighter truck BST&G describes as the “latest in technology.” Residents have likely seen “The Beast of the East” on the road when driving around the district’s service area.

BST&G has another fire engine truck, a ladder truck, rescue truck, tanker truck, and a truck to tackle brush and grass fires.

In other news, the fire district posted on May 4, “BST&G are the proud recipients of the 2023 Ohio Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics Put a Lid On It Bike Helmet Program. Our department received 108 helmets to give away this year! The bike helmets can be obtained by stopping by the fire station, located at 350 W. Cherry St., Sunbury, or attending one of our events.”

For more information, visit

Assistant Editor Gary Budzak covers the eastern half of Delaware County and surrounding areas. He may be reached at [email protected].

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