In 40 years, Buddy Billings has helped build the Collierville Fire Department to what it is today

Buddy Billings remembers applying for a job with the Town of Collierville four decades ago.

As he sat in the office of first Town Administrator, he answered question after question. “He grilled me pretty hard. He really did,†Billings said. “I told him I was going to be a fireman for the Collierville Fire Department, and here I am, 40 years later.â€

Indeed, 40 years later Billings is not only here, he is chief of the Collierville Fire Department and the Town’s longest-serving employee.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen honored Chief Billings July 9 with a 40-year pin. Town Administrator James Lewellen said he was thrilled to have the chance to recognize Billings, who he described as “one of the great employee careers with the Town of Collierville.â€

A lifelong Collierville resident, Billings began working for the Town in 1978 as a dispatcher and moved to the fire department a year later – and even before that, he began volunteering for the Town at age 16. As Lewellen noted, “He’s the kind of employee stories that people would build a community around.â€

In his time with the CFD, Billings has done just about everything. “From pulling weeds and mowing grass around the station to washing the fire trucks; he’s fought fires, he’s provided emergency medical assistance. He served as the Town’s Fire Marshal.†Lewellen said. “He has become a very respected fireman among everyone in the state.â€

Mark King, CFD Chief of Administration, lauded Billings for enabling the department to maintain high performance standards and an excellent level of service. “We know achievement and success don’t come by accident,†King said. “Breakthroughs come after spending hours of hard work trying new ideas.â€

For Billings, the tough work of being a firefighter, paramedic, inspector, fire marshal, chief, etc. has flown by.

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“It seems like yesterday. It really has flown. Where does time go?†he said. “I’ve been given a lot of tremendous opportunities, and I just want to thank everybody.â€

He added, “I’ve got a few more years left.â€

Board members applauded that promise and Billings’ career so far – as Lewellen noted, it’s hard to imagine anyone giving more to public service. “Tonight we get to travel down memory lane with Buddy and 40 years of incredible service to the Town of Collierville – 40 years of living, eating and breathing the Collierville Fire Department,†he remarked.

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