Bethlehem Fire & Rescue Firefighter Death
Last night at approximately 8:15 pm 18 year old Firefighter Caleb Benfield passed away from injuries he sustained in a motorcycle accident in sight of the Bethlehem Fire & rescue Station.
Caleb had been working all morning performing fire prevention activities with his department and was returning to the station to participate in additional fire prevention demonstrations for the local Elementary school.
Caleb joined the department in July 2011 as a junior member. He celebrated his 18th Birthday on September 17th of this year.
Bethlehem Fire & Rescue
7373 NC Hwy 127
Taylorsville, NC 28681
Station: 828 495-7411
Caleb Robert Benfield was born in Catawba County in 1994. He died from injuries sustained from a motorcycle accident on Wednesday, October 10 in his 18th year. He is survived by his mother and father, Bob & Shelly Benfield of Bethlehem; his brothers Mark Benfield of Millers Creek, Jonathan Benfield of Bethlehem, Daniel Benfield & Joshua Benfield of the home; his sisters Heather Benfield of Millers Creek, Anna Benfield & Isabel Benfield of the home; one nephew, Grant and one niece Lilly both of Millers Creek; grandparents, Bobby & Joyce Faw of Hays and a great-grandmother, Gladys Handy of Roaring River; several aunts, uncles and cousins.
He was preceded in death by his grandparents Jack & Mary Ellen Benfield, his great-grandfather, Lonnie Handy and his great-grandparents Gene & Elsie Faw.
Caleb was in his senior year of High School and has been homeschooled for his entire education. He was scheduled to begin formal Fire Fighter training in January through Caldwell Community College.
From his earliest years, he enjoyed living life to its fullest by engaging in activities such as 4-H Dragonflies, team sports, drama, sign language and music instruction. It was a frequent occurrence for Caleb to go 4-wheeling, mudding, hunting, fishing, rodeos and snow skiing. He loved riding motorcycles. Caleb and his family travel extensively and he had visited 35 states, Canada, Mexico and Haiti where he was on a mission trip at the time of the earthquake.
Since moving to the Bethlehem area, Caleb became vibrantly active in the Bethlehem Community Fire and Rescue Department and the Alexander County Sheriff’s Department Explorers Program. These avenues gave him more opportunities to learn and serve others. He was passionate about fighting fires and recently entered his first burning building!
Many people in the community interacted with Caleb during his employment at Lowes Grocery Store. This past summer was spent teaching children’s swim lessons and lifeguarding at the Hickory YMCA. However, Caleb found his calling serving his community as a fire fighter and future law enforcement officer.
Caleb and his family attend Tri-City Baptist Church. He was actively involved in the drama program where he played the lead role as “Pete” in the yearly production of the Promise. He was also involved in the music ministry, media ministry and loved working with children during Vacation Bible School.
A Celebration of Caleb’s life will be held at Tri-City Baptist Church in Conover, NC at 2:00 pm on Sunday, October 14th. A formal processional by various fire and emergency departments lead by the Bethlehem Community Fire Department will transport Caleb to his final resting place. The burial will be at Middle Cross Baptist Church in North Wilkesboro.
Flowers will be accepted or memorials may be made to the Bethlehem Community Fire & Rescue Department or the Alexander County Sherriff’s Department Explorers Program, 7373 NC Hwy 127N, Taylorsville, NC 28681
Caleb was often heard saying “Go Big or Go Home” and his infectious smile, plentiful hugs, kind words, open & loving spirit and desire to serve the Lord will be missed.