Firefighters widow continues service work, helps to organize weekend fundraiser

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 19, 2016

By Shavonne Walker

MOCKSVILLE — Lori Cheeks is a woman determined to carry out the work her late firefighter husband loved to do and that was put smiles on young children’s faces at the holidays. Cheeks’ husband, Jackie, a Cleveland native and volunteer firefighter was killed in a motorcycle accident in September.

Cheeks, 51, was a volunteer firefighter with the Sheffield-Calahaln Volunteer Fire Department in Mocksville.

“He played Santa Claus for seven years,” Lori said simply.

The couple along with Jackie’s son, Brandon, were all firefighters with Sheffield-Calahaln and each year there was always a Christmas party. This year Jackie won’t be a part of it, but Lori plans to make it a good one.

She’s help to organize a motorcycle/vehicle ride from Statesville to the fire department on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. that will raise money to give children in Davie County a great Christmas at no cost to their families.

The ride is hosted by the Red Knights Chapter 13 and is also a way to honor Jackie Cheeks.

The cost for the event is $20 for a single rider, $25 for double riders, also $25 for cars with two people and $5 for each additional person. The cost to participate also includes the spaghetti dinner.

The ride will be will begin at STE Powersports, 1426 Northside Drive, Statesville and end at the Sheffield-Calahaln Volunteer Fire Department, 435 Dyson Road, Mocksville.

“I miss him everyday. I wanted to do something. I wanted to give back to this community and to the people who supported me,” Lori said.

The Christmas party will take place Sunday, Dec. 11, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the fire station.

Lori lost sleep about how she could carry on her husband’s memory until she began thinking about the annual Christmas party.

“He had a big heart and loved kids. I love kids. We didn’t have a whole lot of money, but if I can do something to make someone’s life a little better then that’s what I want to do because that’s what we did,” she said.

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.