Be a Hero to a Firefighter

In November 2018 James began to feel as something was not right with his body. He went to the doctor and asked for a chest x-ray. Although the x-ray came back negative, during the time it took to receive the results James noticed his lymph node swelling on his neck. An ultrasound was performed on Christmas Eve and a total of four lymph nodes on the right side of his neck were found to be irregular. After a month of waiting for an opening, an ENT was finally seen at the end of January. On February 6, 2019 he was officially diagnosed with Squamous Cell Carcinoma. After further testing it was discovered to have originated at the base of his tongue spreading to his lymph nodes making it a stage 3 cancer.

         James began his treatments on March 11, 2019, which consists of 7 weeks of radiation treatment while taking chemotherapy concurrently. Shortly after treatments began, James had his first setback. The chemotherapy James was given, known as Cisplatin, caused him to have ototoxicity. This resulted in permanent hearing loss in both of his ears that will require him to wear a hearing aid for the rest of his life. His chemotherapy has since been changed, but other challenges have arisen. Due to the cumulative effects of the radiation treatments, in addition to an unexpected bout with strep throat, eating and drinking became near impossible overnight.  This has led to surgery to place a feeding tube and the need for home health nursing. James now has 3 weeks remaining of treatment, however, the road to recover will stretch much further. He is hoping to return to work by June if doctors allow.

Career Highlights:

-       Began as a volunteer firefighter in Katonah, New York in June 1987

-       Worked for Horry County EMS from 1996-1999 as a paramedic until hired in North Myrtle Beach.

-       Began career for City of North Myrtle Beach Department of Public Safety in January 1999.

-       Became a Class One police officer in June of 2000 after graduating from the SCCJA with the JP Strom   award.

-       Became a Fire Lieutenant 2001

-       Has served on or with:

o   NMB Fire Technical Rescue Team

o   EMS Bike Team

o   Wild-land Firefighting Team

o   Public Safety Honor Guard

o   NMB Police Alcohol Enforcement Team

o   Police Bike Team

o   Police Marine Patrol

o   Public Safety Recruitment Team

o   Co-founded NMBDPS Explorers program

-       In addition, James has instructed for both the SC Fire Academy and SC Criminal Justice Academy teaching numerous courses in multiple fields of service including:

o   Firefighter recruit schools instructor

o   Live Fire instructor

o   EMS in-service instructor

o   Defensive tactics instructor

o   Pepper spray instructor

o   Teaches statewide as an AET instructor.


Other Community Service

-Served as a Search Team Leader and Task Force Leader with SCTF-1 Urban Search and Rescue Team and was deployed to hurricane Katrina.

-Volunteers to teach rape and aggression self-defense at Coastal Carolina University, as well as multiple other locations around Horry County.

- Teaches Jail Tour Program with Horry County Sherriff and Solicitors office working with troubled youth.

-Instructs in collaboration with multiple other law enforcement agencies for the SOAR program working with troubles youth.

-Serves on both the EMS and Law Enforcement sub-committees for the SC Human Trafficking Task Force.

-Founded Help Save the Next Girl on the campus of Coastal Carolina University.

-Serves on the Horry County CAST collation.

Donations (0)

  • Vicki Lewis 
    • $100 
    • 4 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $500 
    • 4 mos
  • Amanda Earnhardt  
    • $100 
    • 4 mos
  • Dana Griffin 
    • $50 
    • 5 mos
  • Andy McCarter 
    • $50 
    • 5 mos

Organizer and beneficiary 

Aaron Sonny Asbury 
North Myrtle Beach, SC
James Vreeland 
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