Years ago, when I was running VAFireNews.com, I came to know Nate Camfiord. Nate had been a firefighter in Northern, VA but had to hang up his helmet due to a rare neurological condition. He was only a couple of years older than me, and he had an eye for a good picture. Nate became a photographer and frequently photographed fire apparatus and firefighters.
Several years ago, Nate moved to Roanoke. He would often say that Roanoke was the best kept secret as far as firefighting goes in Virginia. He was right about that!
Nate was a very positive guy who loved being in the firehouse. He would have fit right in at any crew. He was very intelligent too, you might call him an intellectual.
I remember in 2013, he told me he wanted to do a 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb. We didn’t have one in Roanoke at the time, but he took it upon himself to contact the people at the tallest building in town. He got authorization to climb on a weekend. When he told me he was going to do it, I thought that I couldn’t let him do it alone. So I climbed with him. Even with his medical condition, he was able to climb the entire way. His pace made it easier for me, but I was more there for moral support. That climb was about Nate climbing. I HAD to make sure he finished it. The local news crews came by and did a story on it (the video is no longer online).
I even gave Nate the editing rights to RoanokeFire.com. The last several dozen articles and images were from him. I shared an article that Nate photographed down in Mississippi for friends of his on FireCritic.com. Nate was so proud to be included in that. Nate’s most recent biggest achievement was helping out with images for the book 25 to survive. Nate also did photos and was a big part of Team Hunter. Read about that here.
In the past couple of years, Nate and I were not close. For reasons out of my control, we parted ways. Earlier this year, he reconnected with me and we talked for a while. Amidst the hustle and bustle of work and family, we never got to meet back up.
A couple of days ago, I heard from several friends out of State of Nate’s passing. I looked into it and it was confirmed. Nate had passed away due to complications from pneumonia on Friday, December 4, 2015 at the age of 43. The Roanoke Times has a brief obituary here.
I didn’t know Nate back in the day when he was in a band and I didn’t know Nate when he was a firefighter. The Nate I knew had a hard life full of great experiences….but you wouldn’t hear him complain. Nate had friends everywhere.
I wish things had gone differently. I wish we hadn’t disconnected. I wish life might have been easier for him. I know that he is in a much better place now.
God Bless you Nate.
Nate’s family has said that there will be a memorial service for Nathan Forrest Camfiord in Northern Virginia after the 1st of the year.