Former Benwood Fire Chief, Mike Smith passed away at the age of 81 on Monday.

West Virginia Governor, Jim Justice, awarded Mike the Distinguished West Virginian Award in 2017, the award honors a citizen’s service to West Virginia, is the highest award that can be presented to a citizen by the Governor.

Gov. Justice spoke about the passing of Mike Smith during his coronavirus briefing on Tuesday.

We should offer up lots and lots of prayers. Lots of prayers to a man I was able to honor in a very small way. A man that literally gave his life for so many. A great man and please offer up all your prayers to he and all his of his family. We take for granted a level of gratitude and appreciation we should express. When somebody is a servant, especially of all us, exactly what this man was, should we not go out of our way to express that gratitude and appreciation and I really believe we should. I hate like crazy that he has passed.

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice

You can watch the Governor’s response in the video player above.