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‘The epitome of a first responder’: London celebrates firefighter’s decades of service

Published: Apr. 6, 2021 at 4:44 PM EDT
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LONDON, Ky. (WYMT) - Despite the celebratory occasion, Wilson Rawlings could only think of starting off his 81st birthday party by telling jokes.

“It’s just hard to believe that they all come out to support me,” Rawlings said.

Not only was Rawlings celebrating his birthday, the London Fire Department and London-Laurel County Rescue Squad honored him for 66 years of service to the community as well.

“It’s a great feeling, it’s something that my dad started and I just followed in his footsteps,” Rawlings said. “It’s just a great feeling to be able to help others.”

Rawlings served as fire chief from 1989 to 1994 and founded the rescue squad 52 years ago.

“Today it’s still going, running strong with the same values that he started the rescue squad with,” Chief John Allen said.

While he enjoyed time with his family and friends, he could not help but reflect on his journey.

“The way we started with it was no equipment, standing on the street corners bumming money,” Rawlings said. “And to see what it is today, it’s probably, one of the best, if not the best rescue squad in the state.”

London Fire Chief Carl Hacker said that Rawlings’ influence sticks with him every day.

“I’m very thankful to have somebody for a mentor like that in my life,” Hacker said. “It’s very rare that a chief can have something that valuable.”

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