Saturday, January 28, 2017

Rocky Mount firefighters in their 90s have no plans to retire

ROCKY MOUNT, Va. Jan 28 2017 Two Rocky Mount volunteer firefighters have a combined more than 100 years of service. Both are in their 90s and are two of the oldest firefighters in the Commonwealth.
People call 93-year-old Ulis Chitwood "Checkbook." He's been Rocky Mount Fire Department's treasurer for more than 40 years. People call 91-year-old Burton Pugh "Spike" thanks to a cartoon from the 1930s.
"Perry Winkle and his Rinky Dinks. It's Clink, Spud, Spike and Perry. And they gave me spike and mine is the only one that stuck," Spike said.
The two have been volunteer firefighters for a very long time.
"When I got on here, we had one fire truck and it didn't hold but 300 gallons of water," Spike said.
And that one truck is still here in the fire department, but that's not the only thing that's changed. Instead of fighting fires, Spike makes sure everything is in order. And he keeps his gear in his car so can still go on calls.
"The fire trucks they generally get out first, and they're a little faster than I am now," Spike said.
For now, Checkbook Chitwood just sticks to the checks.
But why do they still do it?
"Well it's the least you can do ... you do everything you can for the people," Spike said.
"When the alarm goes off your adrenaline get to going and you want to go help somebody," Checkbook said.
And according to them, they'll be sticking around for a while longer. When WDBJ7 asked them if they planned to retire anytime soon, chuckles followed the response.

"Well, I haven't thought about it," Checkbook said.

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