Firefighter Leslie Keith Gillum

Photo of Firefighter Leslie Keith Gillum
Last Call: Wed, Apr 14th, 2004
Date of Incident: Thu, Apr 8th, 2004
Cause of Death: Heart Attack
Service Time: 11 years
Age: 71


Firefighter Gillum and the members of his Dept responded to a motor vehicle crash to assist with extrication. Firefighter Gillum set up the Dept's hydraulic extrication tool and then began to experience severe chest pains.

Firefighter Gillum was evaluated by emergency medical personnel on the scene and advised that he should be transported by ambulance to the hospital. Firefighter Gillum refused transportation and assisted with the set up of a landing zone for a helicopter. After the landing zone was set, Firefighter Gillum signed a refusal for treatment with EMS.

At the conclusion of the incident, Firefighter Gillum was driven to the hospital by his wife. Firefighter Gillum was admitted to the hospital and was scheduled for heart surgery. He died during the surgery on April 14, 2004.


Norton Branch Volunteer Fire Department Patch
1570 State Highway 1654
Rush, Kentucky 41168


There are 5 tributes for Firefighter Leslie Keith Gillum.

Firefighter Leslie Keith Gillum
Left by Chief Gregory A Gillum on Thursday, October 19th, 2006

Less than five years ago the name " Keith Gillum" would not have meant anything to me personally. That name would not have rung a bell for friend, family member, concerned citizen, hard worker, dedicated fireman, or any multiple of other characteristic value. I believe that this problem is real for many people throughout their life. You travel along life's highway and suddenly you come in contact with a person, a family, and a community that will impact you for the rest of your remaining life upon God's green earth. Such is the circumstances with Mr. Gillum and myself. Have you ever had something happen to you on your birthday that you have never forgottena Sometimes things received are not always in the form of a tangible gift. My birthday in May 2000 was such an occasion. Somehow, someway, Dicky Tiller encouraged and/or put enough of a guilt trip on me to go up to the fire station and join. I had previously met some of the men around the fire station but was never really involved. When I joined, I found out what "involved" could really mean. I met Keith. I'm glad to say that we became friends. I believe that is due to his work ethic and dedication to the needs of the fire station and community that caused me to make myself as available as possible to help him in any project going on. He knew the good old meaning of the word "work" and the word "pride". There were times that we talked about the lack of these qualities in the real world today. His quality work ethics not only produced visual results in the projects around the fire department and community but also affected those around him who wanted to learn and grasp a little of the old fashion way of life. Even though I only knew him for a little while it is not hard to figure out that his life was counted as "full" and "worthwhile". Navy life was probably not that easy and he surely learned many qualities of life that remained with him after he was discharged. As a sheet metal worker he had to know the life of hard work and high expectations in the work place. As a family man he knew the responsibilities of being a good husband and a loving father who took care of his children. Keith was a devoted family man. Married to a fine lady, father to wonderful children, brother to brothers and sisters, uncle to several nephews and nieces. But grandfather- that's where he seemed to shine the most. If there was ever a grandfather who loved his grandchildren, Keith was the man. Patience- can't touch him. Love- none stronger. Energy- unending. Supportive - none greater. He was always available for his grandchildren. Keith was a dedicated fireman. Fireman of the year. He was almost a part of every alarm that was ever sounded. You could just count on him being there to drive engine 351. The times I was able to make a call seemed to run into a routine of getting to the station first, grabbing my gear, grabbing Keith's gear, getting the truck out the door, and wait for Keith to arrive. Of course we're only talking brief minutes but I knew that he was on the way. Sitting up front with him was always an adventure. If there can be an adventure in the fire department it would be riding up front with Keith. Moments of laughter about not finding shoes in the middle of the night, moments of frustration at the uncooperative gears going up the hill, moments of crankiness at people and cars in the way, moments of relief that the call turned out be nothing serious, and moments of grief when things didn't turn out well. He worked hard one year to develop a notebook of addresses and how they would correspond to cross roads and main landmarks. He didn't like taking too long to get to the emergency at hand. Keith was a determined carpenter, plumber, mechanic, and jack-of-all-trades. If it needed fixing it got fixed. The countless hours spent making the fire house what it is today can be greatly attributed to Keith Gillum. He wasn't too good to pick up a broom or mop and get things cleaned up. A job just wasn't complete until the last scrap or material was put up and the place was restored to working order. He inspired others to work hard on the project at hand. Even though his way about getting them to do the job might have been offensive to some who were not as energetic, he expected everyone to be involved. After all the fire department was a team effort. Keith was a dependable pillar of the community. Many times a pillar of the building is taken for granted. Lack of attention never stops a pillar from doing its job. The pillar supports a heavy load but doesn't shirk the responsibility of standing firm. Keith was known far and wide in the community. He was not known as a boisterous man who needed the spotlight to gain a visual reward of popularity. Whether it was the conservation group, the fire station, the board of directors, the schools or churches - he was there giving one hundred per cent. Whether it was sunshine, fire, or high water - he was there giving one hundred per cent. He knew what it meant to be his brothers' keeper. He gave freely to help anyone and anywhere in many situations. He was the kind of man that our community was proud to have to meet the need of any problem at hand. Most of all - Keith was a friend. Good friends can be hard to come by. Good friends are taken for granted. Good friends are greatly missed when they are gone. I am privileged to have known Keith Gillum for these brief years. I'm sorry I wasn't a better friend. Memories are great to remember, but they are not the real tangible life experiences that we should enjoy with each other day to day. Ever so often these days a memory pops up in my mind about Keith. I'd rather just see him around the community still doing all the things he used to do. Since I know that he's gone I'll just keep on remembering. Like his smile, his wit and mannerisms;

Jerry Foster


Norton Branch Fire/Rescue