Mr. Jenkins settled in Orlean in the early 1970s. The 5-year-old volunteer company voted him in as a member in June 1977.
By 1980, he had been elected chief mechanic, a position he would hold on and off throughout the years. Mr. Jenkins continues to serve in that capacity. His expertise and love for working on vehicles began as a young man, while working at local dealerships and service stations. In the 1980s, he owned an automotive machine shop in Warrenton.
Throughout the years, Mr. Jenkins has served as the volunteer fire department’s vice president, second lieutenant, captain and first lieutenant. He has run more than 1,000 fire and rescue calls — including the delivery of a newborn, sometimes in extreme winter weather conditions.
He has enjoyed driving fire trucks in many local parades.
During the past 40 years, Mr. Jenkins has worked alongside 10 Orlean fire chiefs and has been involved with the multitude of changes and modernization to the vehicles and apparatus used for fire and rescue.
Twice a year, he makes the trip to Wolftown to pick up those tasty hams served at the department’s annual ham and oyster dinner. He is also a master in the kitchen getting those oysters fried just right.
Mr. Jenkins and other volunteers also make the department’s monthly country breakfast possible. In addition to coordinating the breakfast food order, Mr. Jenkins arrives with other volunteers at the crack of dawn to set up and start preparing meal.
When not volunteering, Mr. Jenkins enjoys traveling in an RV with his wife Sharon, family and friends, bowling and spending time with their grandchildren.
“It is such a small token that we say thank you for all that you have done and continue to do to make our community the wonderful place that it is,” department President Jeff Clark said recently in presenting a certificate to Mr. Jenkins. “Billy’s 40 years of dedication, comradery and hard work as a volunteer for the Orlean Volunteer Fire & Rescue Department are an inspiration to us all.”