Ask Jerry Rybicki what he does for a living, he'll tell you he's a plumber.
"It's what pays the bill."
But it's the job that doesn't pay the bills that's meant so much.
"Back then everybody seemed to join the fire department so that's what I did," Rybicki explained.
For the past 45 years, he's been serving the community of Rudolph as a volunteer firefighter.
"It's one of those things that you just do it, you get dedicated."
But now, he says it's time to move on.
"I said, are you sure you want to? It's up to him you know, but he said he's ready," Rudolph Fire Chief Tony Konkol said.
"You get to the point, you do slow down, and regardless of what people think you're not as fast as when you were a little pipsqueak," Rybicki joked.
Throughout the years Rybicki has been to hundreds of fires. But you'd be hard pressed to get him to pinpoint his most memorable moment.
"What's one of the most memorable moments? Oh boy," Rybicki said. "I couldn't really say, there are all good moments, when you're on it once you keep going."
In January his experience and dedication was recognized by the state.
"It gets in your blood," he said. "Gets in your blood and you feel like I have to go out and try to protect somebody, protect something."
Even though he's retired now, he says that feeling won't go away.
"I'm here for back up," he said.
Because he says this isn't goodbye, it's just see you later.
"I'm not going to get out unless they kick me out," he said.
More snow, freezing rain, sleet, and wind on the way.
1908 Grand Avenue, Wausau, WI 54403
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