Havana firefighter followed ‘calling’ for 60 years

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HAVANA, Ill. – Havana Fire Chief John Kachanuk says firefighting for Bill Watts was a “calling.”

The (Peoria) Journal-Star reports that Watts followed that call for 60 years before retiring recently.

Watts joined the Havana Fire Department in 1959. He left in 1981 and volunteered for another 38 years for the Havana Rural Fire Protection District.

He served as chief of both districts. Havana is 200 miles (320 kilometers) southwest of Chicago.

Kachanuk says Watts’ longevity has nothing to do with ego. He says that Watts is the type of person who did the work because he believed it was a good thing to do.

Watts was one of the first recipients of the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association’s emeritus award in 2009. It’s given to former fire chiefs with distinguished careers.

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