Volunteer Fire Fighter Hits Milestone

March 15, 2012 Updated Mar 15, 2012 at 5:10 PM EDT

By WKBW News

March 15, 2012 Updated Mar 15, 2012 at 5:10 PM EDT

West Seneca, N.Y. (WKBW) - For six decades Tom Ulrich has been suiting up and heading out as a volunteer fire fighter for the Reserve Hose Fire Department in West Seneca.

"I'm 78 years old and I joined the fire department when I was 18. I now have 60 years in." Ulrich said.

Ulrich even lived across the street from the where the fire hall is today when he was a child. Then, his father sold land to build the fire station. Through the years, he has given thousands of hours to the department, while also working and raising a family. Many ask why such dedication to a volunteer position?

"I think it's very satisfying to be a volunteer fireman or I wouldn't have been there this long. I think everyone should give something back to the community," Ulrich said.

Mr. Ulrich has seen many changes throughout his years with the department, including going from a one bay firehouse to what is standing on Berg Road today.

Ulrich has also see another big change.

"Tough to get volunteers now because peoples lives are spread so thin with their kids and sports. things like that. It's very tough to volunteer because it's very time consuming," Ulrich said.

After all this time, Ulrich has one piece of expert advice for the volunteers.

"Volunteer fire fighters should thank their wives for putting up with it. There's late suppers and not being there on time," Ulrich said.

Just as Ulrich was finishing his interview with Channel 7, he had the opportunity to show off a bit of the action. He received a call and sped off, sirens and all.