After 40 years, Assistant Chief Tony Campbell is still putting on his uniform.
But it’s not just his passion for Wheeling, that keeps him working it’s the people.
It all started with a police uniform in 1978.
“So I made the move to the fire department best thing I ever did,” said Campbell.
That move in 1989 takes us to present day, inside fire headquarters you’ll find assistant Chief Tony Campbell working right alongside his platoon of 27 hardworking firefighters.
“When you’re a policeman it’s more about ‘Hey you gave me a ticket why aren’t you out catching bank robbers, whereas, when you’re on the fire department, if there’s someone in trouble than you can give them help, and they’re very appreciative of what you can do for them.”
He’s seen changes in his city, and in his career.
“I stood in the street from 7 o’clock in the morning until I got done at 3’o clock in the afternoon directing traffic, that’s how much traffic was downtown. The big thing I have seen in this area here is unfortunately we have a big drug problem and our EMS has picked up more in the last 20 years than it ever could in the time period before that, so we’re seeing more medical emergencies than we are fire,” said Campbell.
He’s been at the fire house on Christmas, and New Years ready to answer the call, missing his beloved wife, daughter, and son.
His kids now choosing to settle down in the city he’s kept safe.
As he looks back on his 40 years, the men, and women he calls some of the finest firefighters have made it worth it.
“We eat together, we pray together, we work together, everything we do is family oriented, plus we’ve become very close because we’re in life and death situations, so with them, I couldn’t be prouder,” said Campbell.
The assistant chief said he plans to retire in the next couple of years and enjoy time off with his family.