Service, family at heart of late Sims firefighter

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Volunteer firefighters from Sims and Contentnea were tasked Friday with responding to a fatal incident that involved one of their own.

“I will say it makes things different and it hits close to home when you’re responding to someone you know like that,” said Sims Fire Chief Hunter Barnes. "Nothing can ever prepare you for that."

The call came out late Friday afternoon about a farming accident on Jonesy Road off Lamm Road. Barnes said volunteer Matthew Scott “Chew” Lamm worked farms in that area and it crossed responders’ minds that he might be involved. Despite their best efforts, Lamm died and the passing of the 29-year-old rippled throughout the tight-knit community.

“The volunteer fire service used to be made up of people who lived in the community and also worked in the community and on farms like he did,” Barnes said. “Now the majority live here, but they don’t work in the community. He was one of the few that still lived in the community, worked in the community and served in the community.”

Lamm joined the department at 16, but the majority of the members already knew him. In addition to Lamm’s father, Bryan, serving on the department’s board, many grew up with him and went to church with him. Barnes said while many knew the sandy-haired boy as Chew, he called him ‘Egg’ after seeing him show up for Easter services in a memorable pastel shirt and pants.

“He was just real passionate about his job and working on his family farm,” Barnes said. “He was a hard worker, but he always made time for the community, time for his church and time for his family.”

Lamm was a longtime volunteer with the Cragmont annual golf tournament and coached youth basketball in between fishing trips. With more than a decade as a volunteer firefighter, training and responding to help his neighbors also was important.

“He was a very kind person who would do anything for anybody,” Barnes said. “If more people treated others the way Matthew treated people, the world would be a better place.”

Visitation will take place from 6 to 8:30 p.m. today and the funeral will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday, both at Joyner’s Funeral Home. Crews from Rock Ridge and Contentnea will be covering the Sims fire district during the services to allow members to pay tribute to the native Wilsonian known for his smile and generous spirit.

“He always thought of others ahead of hisself,” Barnes said.