Charles “Sparky” Sparks of Columbia, Kentucky was born September 15, 1961. He suffered a heart attack on June 30, 2011 while trying to save a burning historic house in the Garlin Community of Adair County. He died eight days later on Friday, July 8, 2011 at the age of 40.
He professed faith in Christ and was a member of the Columbia Christian Church.
He was a dedicated public servant having been a Deputy State Fire Marshal for 23 years, Assistant Fire Chief of the city of Columbia Fire Department, a member of the Columbia-Adair County Volunteer Fire Department for 32 years, an Emergency Medical Technician for the Adair County Ambulance Service and a Fire Rescue Training Instructor for the Kentucky Fire Commission State Fire Rescue Training Area 14 for 24 years.
He survived by his wife, Tammy Akin Sparks; one son, Trent Sparks, and his parents, Charles and Helen Sparks all of Columbia.
The dictionary defines reflections as careful consideration or meditation.
The park is appropriately named because of the events and people we need to always remember and be cautious to never forget. At this site you have the opportunity to recall the sacrifices that Sparky and others made.
Sparky gave 100 percent in all facets of his job and volunteer work. He studied and learned all there is to know about safety, rescue and firefighting. He knew the practices and procedures professionally taught and trained others, sharing with them his vast storehouse of knowledge. He set the bar high for all of us. He was invaluable to his comrades, his area and his family. As we reflect on Sparky’s example, we too can be encouraged to even greater service and commitment.
As you look upon the various sections of this park, you can reflect upon the bravery and sacrifices of other firefighters and emergency personnel who give their time and energy to protect life, property and environment. These emergency personnel have dedicated their lives to serving their communities and giving their all to protect and keep us safe.
We must also reflect on the courage these men and women display on a daily basis as they are called upon to literally lay down their lives for others.
The stone-capped outer circle – called the “Circle of Respect” and the pathway to the inner circle are engraved with the names of financial donator s or those who gave in-kind labor.
To all who serve in an emergency capacity, we say “ Thank You”. It is our goal, through this Reflection Park, to never forget the lives of those lost and the lives of those who continue to serve.
After the loss of their friend and instructor, Charles Sparks, Charlie Shaw and the Area 14 Staff wanted to pay tribute to him, their staff and all emergency service personnel across the Commonwealth of Kentucky. So it was decided to dedicate one quarter acre on the east end of the campus to build a Reflection Park.
On October 6, 2011 a dedication was held to dedicate the first section of that Park and to plant a tree in Charles Sparks name. This section of the park is the first third of the park to be developed. Without the assistance of many groups, individuals and monetary donations this project would never have become a realization.
The Circle of Respect which is the outer circle is names of those who have given $500 or more in donations or in kind labor. Pavers with names in the pathway to the Statue are names of those who have given $100 or more and those of other instructors who have passed on.
They would like to give a special thanks to:
Rob Roberts, Director of Landscaping
Taylor County Road Department
Brian Smothers, Robbie Bryant, Todd McCubbin
Taylor County Detention Center, Hack Marcum Jailer
State Fire Rescue Training Area 14 Staff
Charlie Shaw, Jamia Skaggs, IIena Sherriff, Todd Gabehart, Brent Lile, Ben Bentley
Tony Young, Mayor, City of Campbellsville
Holland Milby, Campbellsville Street Department
Eddie Rogers, Taylor County Judge Executive
Taylor County Animal Shelter, John Harris
The Concrete Lady
Lee Brick & Block
Oates Flag Company
Highland Sod Farm, James & Melissa Jenkins
Richard Robards, Retired Newspaper Editor
Joe Despain, Historian
Judy & Terry Dabney, Parrot & Ramsey Funeral Home
Terry White, Ministor Columbia Christian Church
Ronnie Day, Executive Director Kentucky Fire Commission
Green River Graphics