BLANDFORD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- There are few greater sacrifices than running into a burning building to possibly save your neighbor.

One local man has been doing this for six decades

You can say fighting fires is a passion for Deputy Chief Thomas Ackley. He's been with the Blandford Fire Department since 1957.

"I guess it gets in your blood and keeps you here. For those who stay, it's dedication that can't be equaled anywhere," Ackley explained.

Things have changed since Ackley started 61 years ago.

"When I first became a volunteer fireman, we probably had four, maybe five, calls per year. We are heading for well over 100. A big amount are EMS," Ackley noted.

Volunteer firefighting brings different people from different walks of life all together for the community.

"For a lot of people, it's to help their neighbors. For other people, it may start out as curiosity and becomes something you want to stay with," Ackley explained.

Ackley said that to help your neighbors means the world to him.

"We get quite a lot of support from the town's people. Some of it's through donations, some of it's stopping into the station just to say hi, thank you letters. Thank you cards. We get the support of the town's people," Ackley said.

The bright lights of city life never attracted Ackley to move away.

"I grew up here, I've been here all my life. We are the hilltowners, we are yankees, we are going to make it work. It's a good place to live," Ackley added.

We wanted to help, so on behalf of Western Mass News and Diamond RV, Jacob presented the Blandford Fire Department a check for $500 to continue the good that they are doing in town.

With that donation, 10 Towns in 10 Days has donated $20,000 to 40 different charities and organizations over the last 18 months.

There is a lot of good going on in your hometown and it's been our pleasure to try to showcase just a small amount of those groups.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

Digital Content Manager

First Warning Meteorologist

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