SPARTA, Wis. (WKBT) - Looking back on his time from the 70's and 80's, Sparta Fire Chief Mike Arnold will tell you a lot has changed throughout the years.
"We had rubber rain coats, basically that's what they were, and you had a helmet that had no protection whatsoever."
From party line phone systems, to smart phone apps, even the communication is much different.
"We get IM responding, we get a two tone text on our phone, plus we get paged and plus we get messaging."
And while the gear and technology look nothing like they used to, Mike says the purpose remains the same.
"When it's somebody's worst day, it can really be our best day, being able to help those folks in time of a tragedy, in time of needs."
Through each tough situation he's been a part of, whether it's a house fire or a bad car accident, quitting was never an option.
"I'm just a yes man, I basically do everything I can to help people."
50 years of service might seem like an eternity, but only if you don't love what you do.
"Time goes by so fast it's hard to believe that 50 years, I've accomplished in the department, at my age which is pretty neat but did I think I was going to accomplish that, no, I honestly didn't."
While faded headlines can help remind us how tough the job has always been, Mike reminds us how important it continues to be.
"We have to perform and support those people that need help... it could be their worst day, it could be their worst day in their life, but it really should be our best day because we're there to help them," he said.
Fire Chief Mike Arnold's official start at the department was March of 1968.
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