Brittney Burns – Staff Writer
Anyone that speaks about the Otto Volunteer Fire Department, or the history of fire departments in Macon County, will likely mention Roy Henson. He was a charter member of the Otto Volunteer Fire Department, where he was the very first chief and served for 25 years.
“Roy Henson was a dedicated and instrumental person,” said Macon County volunteer firefighter Matt Mason. “He was a former fire chief at Otto Fire & Rescue as well as a small business owner. He was a strong leader that promoted a sense of community, not only at the fire department but throughout his hometown. Roy was the type of person that didn’t say much but when he did everyone listened. He was an inspiration to the community and also the fire service.
“Firemen throughout Macon County had a lot of respect for Roy Henson, they thought of him as a friend, and brother. He will always hold a special place in the hearts of everyone he came in contact with but he will always hold a sincere and meaningful place in the hearts and souls within the fire service brotherhood.”
Henson was a Macon County native who operated Tyler’s Super Food Convenience in Otto with his wife Wanda for many years. He was instrumental in working with the Otto Community Development Organization to fundraise and make the department a possibility in 1978.
“Roy Henson was one of the founding chiefs of the rural volunteer fire service in Macon County,” said Warren Cabe, a volunteer firefighter and Emergency Services Director for Macon County. “He and his department served as role models for the other departments and their members that were established after the Otto Fire Department. His contributions to his community are far too numerous to mention.”
Serving as the fire department’s first chief, Henson did what he had to do to make it work, which even meant storing the department’s very first fire truck in the garage at Tyler’s Convenience.
“Roy Henson was a doer,” said Macon County Commissioner Ronnie Beale. “He didn’t make a big fuss about it, he just did whatever it took to make sure things got done. We wouldn’t have the Otto Fire Department if it wasn’t for Roy. He will certainly be missed in our community.
Roy was laid to rest on Tuesday, Sept. 27, at the cemetery of Coweeta Baptist Church. Members of the Otto Volunteer Fire Department served as pallbearers with founding members of the department serving as honorary pallbearers.