Volunteer built life around serving community
It seemed that for nearly 10 years, volunteer firefighter Dan Fulkerson had to rush to a fire on Christmas Eve.
One year, his mother asked him, “What if you die and don't come back to us?” He replied, “Then it was my time to go. The Lord would have taken me and left the child, mother or father that needed to be there.”
Daniel P. Fulkerson of McCandless died Tuesday, July 7, 2015, in UPMC Passavant-McCandless from an allergic reaction to a bee sting. He was 50.
Mr. Fulkerson was a truck driver for Plunkett Motor Freight in Jackson, Butler County. He was a longtime volunteer firefighter for Highland, Ingomar and Peebles fire companies.
“He'd say, ‘If there's one person I can save, I've done my job,' ” said his sister, Tami Kelly of Ross. “If you've seen the movie ‘It's a Wonderful Life,' he was our George Bailey. If he'd never been born, all of our lives would have been very, very different.”
Mr. Fulkerson wanted to be a police officer, Kelly said, but “life got in the way.”
Instead, he became a sergeant with the Allegheny County Sheriff Reserves, a volunteer organization that supplements local police departments.
Lt. Col. Mike Crow said Mr. Fulkerson volunteered more than 100 hours every year during the Reserves' busy season, helping out at church fairs, 5K walks and other events.
He reached the rank of sergeant “because of his skills with people, his ability to talk to people on the street,” Crow said. “We will miss him as a person and miss him as a comrade.”
Family and friends remembered Mr. Fulkerson for his sense of humor and generosity.
“If he was in a room and he had a beer in him, he was funny. If he was in a room and he didn't have a beer in him, he was funny,” Kelly said. “If you were broken down on the side of the road in the middle of the night and you called him, he would get dressed and come and get you.”
In addition to his sister, Tami, Mr. Fulkerson is survived by his mother, Patricia Daw of McCandless; fiancée, Veronica Dorsch, and her son, Nicholas Girard of Plumville, Indiana County; a daughter, Bailey Fulkerson of Castle Shannon; and sister, Carmen Knaus of McCandless.
Family and friends will be received from 1 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday in H.P. Brandt Funeral Home Inc., 1032 Perry Highway, Ross. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Monday in St. Gregory Church in Zelienople.
Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or firstname.lastname@example.org.