A 30-year veteran of the Buffalo Grove Fire Department was honored this week for his commitment to the job.
Lt. Wendill Bills was awarded the 2013 Firefighter of the Year award for his standout service to the department. The award is presented by the Buffalo Grove Rotary Club, which reviews nominations from fire department employees.
Fire Chief Terry Vavra described Bills as a mentor and teacher in the department and a vehicle expert who is tasked with testing the department’s fleet.
“Wendill has used his knowledge and used his experience with others to make this a smarter department,” Vavra said.
“He truly will help anyone willing to work with him to get a job done.”
Such teamwork is crucial to the job, said Bills, who stopped a couple of times to compose himself as he spoke of his career and expressed gratitude for the recognition.
“Everything that has made me function and do the things that I do is the people I work with,” he said.
“When people are at their worst, they dial 911 and they call us. When we arrive at their house, we don’t arrive as an individual, we arrive as a company. So at that point, we have to be at our best, because they are at their worst,” Bills said.
“I hope that in the 30 years that I’ve been here, I have exhibited that. If I haven’t, you have my apologies,” he said. “But I hope that I have done that. And I thank you all.”
His name will also be added to a plaque that commemorates award recipients, and a ribbon on his dress uniform will serve a visible reminder of the honor.
The Buffalo Grove Rotary Club will donate $250 in Bills’ name to his chosen charity, The Kidney Foundation, and another $250 to the Rotary foundation in his name.