Paul Edward Burge was diagnosed with metastatic pancreatic cancer, an aggressive and virtually untreatable cancer, on August 7, 2017, and lost his battle on September 3, 2017. Throughout his life, Mr. Burge was known for his service to others and willingness to sacrifice so that others could succeed. In 1966, he joined the U.S. Air Force where he served four years, stationed in the Philippines with the military police during the Vietnam War. He was honorably discharged in 1970 as a sergeant.
Mr. Burge was the Director of Social Services in Yancey County for almost fifteen years before becoming director in Burke County in 1998 where he served another six years. In his career, he always fought for the less fortunate, abused or neglected children, the elderly, people with physical and mental disabilities, and others who had little resources for heat or food during severe weather conditions. Mr. Burge always took it upon himself to open shelters throughout the county to provide a dry, safe place with good food to eat for those who had no hope, and he would organize staff and volunteers to gather supplies such as beds, blankets, food, water, clothes and more. He spent most of his life as an advocate for the poor and helpless, often sacrificing his own personal time and money to make sure everyone had what they needed. He not only did these things at his work but also in his life, and he never wanted recognition or notoriety for his efforts; he worked and served for his love of people. Paul Burge’s leadership meant service to others, and sadly he recently lost his battle with cancer. However, through his life and love for people, he was a true hero in every sense of the word.