Former Fire Chief Honored by Borough Council
SCHWENKSVILLE PA – The memory of veteran volunteer firefighter Jim Keyser (at top), a man described by many in the Lower Frederick and former Schwenksville fire companies as a hero and tireless worker, was honored Thursday night (April 9, 2020) with a moment of silence to open the April meeting of the Schwenksville Borough Council.
Keyser died earlier Thursday from what were reported to be complications attributable to the coronavirus outbreak. Council President Darren Rash, facing a video camera to begin the council’s first virtual meeting, called for Keyser’s remembrance immediately after all members pledged their allegiance to the nation.
Council member Chris Melville referred to Keyser as a mentor and teacher to firefighters over several decades. He described how Keyser, a borough native, was influenced by his family to serve with the Schwenksville company at a young age, following in his father, Tip’s, footsteps. Keyser joined the former Schwenksville Fire Company at 18 years old. He later became its fire chief in 2002, and also worked as the borough’s fire marshal and emergency management coordinator.
Keyser was known for his carpentry and construction skills, frequently lending a helping hand to friends. He spent more than 35 years in the building trades, the majority of them as a superintendent managing and overseeing projects and the work of others involved in them.
A Trappe resident, Keyser also was a member of Trappe Fire Company No. 1. He was a Perkiomen Valley High School graduate.
The Schwenksville company merged with Lower Frederick in 2018. Lower Frederick firefighters, in a Thursday tribute on Facebook, said “words can’t begin to describe the amount sadness and disbelief we are feeling from losing such a great man. Jim dedicated his life to the fire service and protecting his community. He will be forever missed.”
“Chief Jim Keyser was a true role model, leader in the fire service, and a genuine person to all,” members of the Trappe company added, also on Facebook. “Jim was a friend to many at our station, and the memories that we were able to make with him will be forever cherished.” They described him as “a beloved first responder of the greater Perkiomen Valley Area.”