Our Town friends grow up helping the community

TILTON -- An opportunity as kids changed four friends' lives forever and shaped them into who they are today. Forty years ago, they were fighting fires together. Today, they're still working side by side, but as leaders of their community.

They all have the same goal: to make Our Town Tilton a better place. WCIA 3's Erica Quednau tells us their story.

Today, this group of friends consists of the mayor, the police chief, ambulance chief and a now-retired village trustee; jobs that all stemmed from their time together at the fire department.

"We all thought it'd be pretty cool to be on the fire department, you know, it's the prestige," said Bill Wear, a retired village trustee.

"I didn't know nothing about it, but it kind of struck an interest, so I thought what the heck," said Steve Cornett, the police chief.

"At that time, we were like 15 and 16 when we joined," said Butch Fields, the ambulance chief.

They all had different reasons for joining but once they did, their goal became the same.

"It was just part of being part of the community. It's gave us a lot and just our way of giving back," said Wear.

"It ran deep in this village, with all of our friends," said Cornett.

That goal eventually influenced their future.

"It was at that time that I decided that was what I wanted to do. I wanted to become a paramedic," said Fields. So, he gave up the fire truck for an ambulance.

"I'm very involved in my community also and I probably will be until the day I die," said Fields.

Steve Cornett went the law enforcement route and became Police Chief.

"As I got older, ya know, the fire department, the police department, the law enforcement, they all work hand in hand together," said Cornett.

It's a job he was appointed to by David Phillips.

"They know. They know what their business is, they know how to take care of business and I respect everyone of them for it," said Phillips.

"It makes it easier; Dave being the mayor, I was trustee, we talked all the time. We trusted each others insight on different subjects," said Wear.

Wear just retired as village trustee, a position he held for more than 20 years. "You get on a board, now you're helping the fire department out, you can help the police department out, you can help your neighbor out," said Wear.

A job that's easier when you know the people who work with you.

"That's the number one thing hard to break, you always gotta remember, we're here to do business and we take care of business and when we're out having fun, we're having fun," said Phillips.

"We care about our town. I don't think any of us will ever leave. We'll retire but we won't leave," said Cornett.

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