Person of the Week
 
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Bob Houston

Updated: Friday, January 31 2014, 07:39 PM EST
50 years ago this month, a young man volunteered for a cause that required sacrifice and at times, even put his life at risk.

Our Person of the Week became a volunteer firefighter in Highlands in January 1964.

This week, he retired but "Ole Bob", as some of the men call him, is leaving a legacy of service and a name that will long be remembered.

"We've really enjoyed working with you all these years.  Wish it could continue."

Bob Houston has answered his last call with the Highlands Volunteer Fire Department.

"I'm gonna get lost when I'm not getting up and coming down here anymore."

It was 50 years ago he began volunteering his time, no pay, just a personal commitment to his community, "whatever needed to be done."

His is a life of service.  Eight years in the Air Force, a paramedic for Macon County, a member of the Naval Reserves, before retiring as a Chief Petty Officer.

Robbie Forrester, Highlands Assistant Fire Chief, "with changes he's seen his time when he started til now, I can't imagine what 50 years would be."

It's been half a century of memories and just like the first firetruck he ever rode in, "this is the first truck the town of highlands had."

They haven't gone away.  Bob was Chief when they fought the biggest fire Highlands ever witnessed, "you always remember the scene and you can see it."

The Lee's Inn fire in 1970 threatened to burn the whole town, "our mayor he happened to make it up there by the time we did.  He just said save the town and it was a nice clear day."

"It got hot enough all the way across the street to melt door knobs."

In more recent years, he's become a manager and mentor to the younger firefighters.

"I've served with some great men all the way back to some of the founding members.  The old timers.  Their goal was to help people."

It wasn't for awards, or money, it was for community. Now as the community honors Bob Houston, "we've really enjoyed working with you all these years." He can take off his fireman's helmet for good and look back knowing he's made a difference.

"I appreciate all you've done for this department and the town of Highlands."

And even though he's taken his last ride, he can never been forgotten.  See the newer fire truck, it's been given a name "Ole Bob".

"I'm certainly gonna miss it." Bob Houston


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