Surry County's longtime emergency services director John Shelton has died.

He was a calm voice in a time of crisis, whether it was a plane crash, a mountain rescue, a wildfire, or a major weather event. He worked closely with the media during emergencies to get information to the public quickly, and if he couldn't answer questions right away, he'd explain why.

Shelton served in the department for more than 40 years. A statement from Surry County officials noted that he started as a paramedic and worked his way up to lead the department.

Along the way, he earned a statewide reputation for his professionalism.

Shelton died over the weekend. He was 67. A cause of death has not been publicly released.

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