BENWOOD, W.Va. (WTRF) — Next week a Christmas tree in Benwood will shine not just for the joy of the season, but in honor of more than half a century of public service.

The city’s first tree lighting is in honor of Mike and Bonnie Smith, who devoted their entire lives to their hometown.

Mike spent 64 years working for the city, 54 of which were as fire chief.

His wife had a career just as remarkable as one of West Virginia’s first female EMTs.

Current fire chief Garson Taylor told us what it takes to respond to emergencies decade after decade.

Mike was a certain leader that you wanted around. He’s the one that got me to where I am, he’s the one that got everything that we have here, he made this department the way it is now. And we’re just trying to live up to what he paved the way to be.

Garson Taylor, Benwood Fire Chief

Everyone is invited to the 4th Street Park at 6 o’clock this Sunday for the ceremony, followed by a plaque dedication for Mike.

His and Bonnie’s daughter Tammy says the tree is to commemorate their favorite holiday.