Fire dept. throws party for diabetic firefighter who lost 96 pounds

Perry Clanton was motivated to take control of his health when he was diagnosed with diabetes two years after his father-in-law died of the disease

By FireRescue1 Staff

BUFORD, S.C. — A firefighter who lost 96 pounds after he was diagnosed with diabetes was honored with a surprise party by his colleagues.

Buford Fire Department Assistant Fire Chief Perry Clanton, 54, was motivated to take control of his health after he learned he had diabetes just two years after his father died of the disease, People reported.

“The first thing in my mind was devastation. That’s something no one wants to hear, especially if you have a father-in-law that just passed,” Clanton said. “I was going to do whatever I had to do to manage this disease and to be better.”

Clanton turned his life around with regular exercise, a new diet and the use of a blood glucose monitoring system, and his family and colleagues say they are in awe of his progress.

To show how proud they are of him, the fire station Clanton works at threw him a surprise party.

“It was incredible. I don’t know how my family kept it such a secret for so long,” Clanton said. “It was just a tremendous day. It got to me, I got emotional. That celebration, I claimed it and it was mine. I was successful in my management and it was so great to see everyone surround me. It was the perfect present.”

To add a little more surprise to the celebration, Clanton’s son Matthew, a Marine who was training in Norway for the last two months, showed up to reunite with his family.

“I wrapped my arms around him and held him tight and told him I loved him,” Clanton said. “It was a welcome home, I hadn’t seen him in a while. It was a birthday present for me. To have my family together was amazing.”

“When I saw his face, it made me feel like I gave back to him because he’s always giving back to other people,” Matthew said. “Growing up, he was always been my biggest supporter. I’ve always looked up to him. He’d do anything for everybody in the world … he’s very, very giving and just a great person.”

Lancaster County council also proclaimed July 20 to be “Assistant Fire Chief Perry Clanton Day” in an effort to thank Clanton for serving the community while also improving his health. 


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