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After nearly 50 years, long serving Chicago firefighter retires

CHICAGO --  After 43 years on the job, a Chicago firefighter says it's time to step aside.

Captain Patrick Ward has seen eight mayors in his nearly five decades as a Chicago firefighter.

He grew up in the city's Wrigleyville neighborhood and came on the fire department when the U.S. was still fighting the Vietnam War

Fire Commissioner Robert Quinn, who was appointed by the first Mayor Daley, was his boss.

Ward began his career on the paramedic side of the department.

Years later, in 1996, he crossed over into the firefighting ranks.

“I'm going to miss every one of them every day,” he told WGN News. “I work with the best.”

He says he can't count how many 911 calls he's made or fires he's fought.  They are easily in the thousands, he says.

Today, his cohorts past and present celebrated Captain Pat.  As the longest serving employee on the department, he is leaving behind quite a legacy and a reputation as a happy guy who always answered the call.

Captain Pat's two sons are on the job, too. They were also on hand to honor their father alone with Pat’s wife Sharon and mother, Sally Ward.

Congrats Captain Pat!