The Oak Hill Fire Department has announced the inception of the Dean M. Elkins Community Service Scholarship that will be awarded to a student from Oak Hill High School who has performed community service in our area.

The $500 scholarship is a one-time award given to a student selected by the Oak Hill/Collins High Alumni Scholarship Committee, which will use its established guidelines for the scholarship selection.

This scholarship will be funded by the members of the fire department. Anyone who would like to make a donation to this scholarship should contact the Alumni Association.

OHFD membership wanted to honor Elkins for his dedicated years of service to the department and the citizens of Oak Hill. He is a 1983 graduate of Oak Hill High School, and the majority of OHFD members are graduates of either Oak Hill or Collins high schools.

Elkins started serving in 1982 when he entered the training program the department offers for individuals who want to obtain the training needed in order to become a firefighter in the West Virginia. Following in the footsteps of his father, Max Elkins, Dean became a member in April 1983 and began a long career of dedicated and loyal service to the department, absent only while serving his country in the U.S. Army as a military policeman.

As a former lieutenant and training officer, he feels training and continuing education is vital in the fire service and in life. This is one of the reasons the department decided to honor him with a scholarship so a deserving student can continue his education.

Elkins’ career has been filled with many highs and lows. He has received countless awards and accolades for his service to the community. He has also received many injuries performing a job he absolutely loved. The most severe injury came in September 2001 when he was working at a fire scene and was run over by an unlicensed uninsured driver who was driving a vehicle with defective equipment.

He suffered multiple broken bones and internal injuries that kept him off the job for almost a year.

Elkins resides in Oak Hill with his wife of 26 years, Sheryl, and their 9-year-old son, Keith.

His biggest battle began when he was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, commonly referred to as ALS or “Lou Gehrig’s Disease” in January 2008. His battle with this terrible disease has been a hard-fought battle for him, his family and friends. He remained very active with the fire department until he requested a medical leave of absence to fight this disease.

Elkins has a deep love and compassion for his duties with the department, and his fellow firefighters want to return his love and compassion by honoring his service.

If you are a senior at Oak Hill High School and planning on attending a college, university or an institution of higher learning (trade school, technical school, etc.), you can receive an application from the Oak Hill/Collins High School Alumni Association by visiting the web site at www.oakhillreddevilalumni.org or by seeing your guidance counselor at school.

The Oak Hill Fire Department and its members, and those who have already donated to this great cause, are honored to be a part of this scholarship honoring Dean Elkins.

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