ARDMORE, Okla. (KXII) - Retired Shift Commander Darin Butler was recognized at Monday night's city commissioners meeting for being the first firefighter in Ardmore to complete 30 years of service.
"It's an honor and privilege," Butler said. "I am quite in shock by it but it's an honor."
Butler says he's lived in Carter County all his life - born in Ardmore, graduated from Plainview High school and stayed in the city to work for the fire department that was founded in 1895.
He moved up the ranks during his career starting as a firefighter at age 22, then becoming a Driver, then promoted to Captain and ending his career as Shift Commander.
"Being a firefighter is the best job in the world there's nothing that compares to it," Butler said. "Being able to help someone when they're in trouble, when you're able to make a difference in their life, you can't replace it. It's the best thing in the world."
But it wasn't until earlier this year when Fire Chief Cary Williamson was going through records and found that Butler made history when he retired two years ago.
"When I really got started in fire services as time went on, I really set my self a goal - I really hope to make 30 years because firefighters get really close to 30 but haven't made it and that was my goal and I made it," Butler said.
Butler says he now spends his time working for his own aviation business, managing and inspecting aircraft's at the downtown airport.
He also had a piece of advice he wanted to share to those firefighters still working day in and day out.
"Just stick with it, stick to your guns," Butler said. "Take all the training you can and advance forward through the ranks and one day you'll be there, 30 years is quick."