Lynchburg, VA - For more than three decades, he's been a staple of the Lynchburg Fire Department. But Friday, Deputy Fire Chief Walt Bailey retired.
For 32 years he's served the fire department in nearly every capacity imaginable; EMT , Medic, fire fighter, Battalion Chief. And on his final day, Bailey chose to go out the same way he came in.
He suited up, hopped in the cab, and went on one of the day's last calls.
"I started here on Medic 1 on B-Shift, and I thought that'd be an appropriate end to my career" said Bailey.
Bailey is a Deputy Chief; he rarely goes out on emergency calls.
But this time, he joined the men he once fought flames with, for a final time.
"I joined the crew this morning at 7:30; I'll actually finish the shift at 7:30 in the morning on Medic 1" he said.
A 24 hour shift; that's how Bailey started his firefighting career and it's the same way it'll end.
"I've been so lucky to come here, it's been a wonderful city, wonderful people, it's been a second family to me, and it's going to be difficult, probably the most difficult thing I've ever done in my life, is going to be leaving in the morning" he said.
"He's worked all the way through the ranks, up through Captain, Battalion Chief, and all the way to Deputy Chief. There's only one spot higher" said Battalion Chief, Ricky Bomar.
And he can even claim chief. He holds that position at his hometown volunteer station in Charlotte County.
"He's extremely good at what he does, he's extremely knowledgeable, and he knows everyone" said Bomar.
"Of my 32 years, all but four of them were at this station. I was a medic here; I was a fire fighter here" said Bailey.
And so at Station one, where his career began, it ended; this time, with a special dinner, and his family, by his side.
"I missed so much with the kids and so much with her, so I look forward to spending a lot of time with them" said Bailey.
"I guess in about 20 years, ya'll can come do a story on her, coming to take Grandpa's place" he said as he held up his Granddaughter.
Bailey will be on his shift until 7:30 Saturday morning. And even then, he said he won't be done, he'll continue on with his hometown volunteer station.