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Former Smith County Fire Marshal Inducted into Hall of Fame

The late Smith County Fire Marshal Jim Seaton was posthumously inducted into the Texas Division of Emergency Management Hall of Fame on Tuesday, May 15.

The award was accepted by his widow, Nancy Seaton; his daughter, Melissa Seaton; and Smith County Fire Marshal/Emergency Management Coordinator Connie McCoy-Wasson, during the Texas Division of Emergency Management Conference in San Antonio.

“Jim was all about emergency management,” Mrs. Seaton said. “He took protecting the citizens of Smith County very seriously. Receiving this award, he would have been so honored, and I am very proud to have received it for him.”

Seaton served as Smith County Fire Marshal/Emergency Management Coordinator from 1999 to 2014. After a valiant fight with cancer, Seaton passed away on April 3, 2014. 

Ms. McCoy-Wasson said it was an honor to work for Seaton for 21 years. She said she would never forget Seaton’s integrity, fairness, honesty and his sense of humor.

“He left some pretty big shoes to fill,” Ms. McCoy-Wasson said.

Seaton served his country from 1969 to 1973, as a member of the United States Marines, and was a proud veteran of the Vietnam War. After returning to Tyler from his service, Seaton joined the Dixie Volunteer Fire Department. He donated his time as a volunteer at Dixie VFD for more than 35 years, serving as the training officer and fire chief. 

In 1987, Seaton became the Smith County Assistant Fire Marshal and Assistant Emergency Management Coordinator. In 1999, after the passing of longtime Fire Marshal Charles Shine, Seaton was appointed Fire Marshal and Emergency Management Coordinator.

He earned and held certifications as a volunteer firefighter, arson investigator, fire inspector and master peace officer.

He believed that training and education were an important factor in the many aspects of his career and dedicated himself to helping others learn what he loved. Seaton also served on several committees and boards, and felt a strong commitment to helping improve the lives of others. Seaton was a dedicated Emergency Management Coordinator and took the planning for disasters and emergencies to a stellar level. He served Texas as a member of the Texas Division of Emergency Management Advisory Group and mentored others new to emergency planning.

Ronald Kimbrough, Emergency Management Coordinator for Cherokee County, was also inducted Tuesday into the Texas Division of Emergency Management Hall of Fame.

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