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COLLIERVILLE, Tenn. — Buddy Billings has spent his entire career with the Collierville Fire Department, and now he is the official man in charge.

Billings had been the interim fire chief, but the Board of Mayor and Aldermen unanimously voted for him to become the permanent fire chief.

The chief started out as a volunteer firefighter for the department when he was just 16, and he’s worked his way up since then.

“This is one of those great success stories. A story about starting at the lowest rung in an entry level position and going all the way to the top,” Town Administrator James Lewellen said.

Billings expressed his thanks for being chosen for the position.

“I stand before you a humble man,” he said. “I want to thank God first of all for giving me the ability to do what I’ve done for so long. I look forward to working with the Board of Mayor and Aldermen in the future, and want to thank you for trusting your fire department to me.”