Friend, colleague talks about volunteer firefighter injured in U - FOX Carolina 21

Friend, colleague talks about volunteer firefighter injured in Union Co. wreck

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Dennis "Hookman" Howell. (Source: Family) Dennis "Hookman" Howell. (Source: Family)
UNION, SC (FOX Carolina) -

When he thinks about his friend and colleague, Dennis "Hookman" Howell, who many know as Smiley, Union Public Safety Captain Kevin Powers said a giving man comes to mind.

"If there's anything that he can do for you, it's done. I mean there's times that you can actually say out loud that you need something and he would take off and do it without you even knowing," said Capt. Powers.

On Saturday evening, Capt. Powers said Howell, a 30-year veteran as a Union volunteer firefighter, was out on the road, off duty, living up to that reputation.

"When I got the phone call the night it happened, the first thing he said is he stopped to assist a woman who had hit a deer. I knew right then, that's what Smiley does. If he sees somebody in need no matter where he was he's going to stop and help," said Capt. Powers.

Highway Patrol Troopers said around 6:30 on Saturday evening, February 3, another vehicle struck Howell's parked car, overturned, then struck him while he was standing in the road on North Duncan Bypass in Union County.

Capt. Powers said news of that accident hit him hard.

"Smiley, we look at him as a brother. He has 30 some brothers at this department, that's not even counting the volunteers. He is like a family member and when I got that message it's like I was getting a message about one of my own brothers," said Capt. Powers.

Howell's family released this statement to FOX Carolina: 

"Our family would like to thank the community for all the prayers for Dennis Howell. He has a long road ahead of him, and will require many different surgeries. He is a fighter, and our family has faith in God that he will pull through this situation. We ask that everyone continue to keep him in their prayers."
- The Howell Family

"Smiley, he is a fighter and he's stubborn too so he's the type of person, he's not going to give up... I have no doubt that I'll see him down there in the hallways hopefully in the near future," said Captain Powers.

FOX Carolina has been in contact with Howell's niece. She posted on Facebook that Howell suffered multiple internal injuries. She said he underwent surgery on Thursday, he has another set for Wednesday to place rods in his chest, then possibly another procedure on Thursday. 

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Upstate firefighter to undergo several surgeries after struck by car while directing traffic, officials say

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