Bedford Co. Firefighter Honored After Answering Over 10 Thousand Calls

Bedford, VA - A local first responder has a first of his own. Assistant Chief Russell Stevens has run 10,000 calls with the Bedford Fire Department.

Firefighting isn't even Stevens' full-time job.

Russell Stevens owns his own business: a garage. He says there have been many times he's had to drop everything at work to go on a call, but his customers seem to understand.

Stevens also says when someone is in urgent need of help, it takes top priority.

Fortunately, there was no emergency to interrupt the fire department's annual banquet Saturday.

Stevens was presented with a proclamation by Bedford City Manager Charles Kolakowski to congratulate him.

Stevens joined the department back in 1974.

"One day the chief of the department at that time, James Henry Howard, was at the place that I worked and he mentioned something about needing firefighters. I told him I would be willing. And a couple of months later, he showed up with all my gear. So. It was that simple to get in the fire department and he worked me ever since. And everyone else. The works been there all the time," Stevens explained.

Stevens says he doesn't remember exactly which call was his 10,000th.

The department totals the answered calls up at the end of each year.

The Bedford Fire Department is also celebrating its 125th anniversary this year.

The volunteer agency typically runs more than 900 calls a year, and Stevens consistently runs more than 500 calls each year.