Excerpts from the Dailyherald.com:
Buffalo Grove trustees recently honored Buffalo Grove Fire Lt. Wendill Bills for his 33 years of service to the department.
Bills, who began working in the village in October 1983, retired last month. Though not on hand for the ceremony, he was recognized in a village proclamation for his extraordinary dedication and humility.
Bills was 2013 Firefighter of the Year. He said of the award in 2013, “It’s great, but when it’s all is said and done, the award is given to me only because of the work that we all did together as a group.”
At the time, Bills said he’d dreamed of being a firefighter since age 5. He attended Lockport High School and became a firefighter at Argonne National Laboratory. After he was laid off, he went back to school and became a paramedic.
When he was hired in Buffalo Grove, Bills, who is black, asked then-Chief Wayne Winter, “‘Are any other minorities working in the village?’ And he said, ‘Yes. But you’re the first one for the fire department.’ I paused for a second and I said, ‘Is that a good thing or a bad thing?’ He said, ‘No, that’s a good thing.'”
“When we arrive at their house, we don’t arrive as an individual. We arrive as a company. At that point, we have to be at our best, because you’re at your worst. … I hope that in the 30 years I have been here, I have exhibited that.”