COLONIE Last Tuesday, Western Turnpike Rescue Squad volunteer Bill Teator sat on call for 12 hours. It had been a slow day, with only one call coming in early in the morning, and the clock was about to strike 6 p.m., marking the end of his shift.
At 5:45 p.m., a 91-year-old woman fell in her bathroom.
“She was on a stepstool, hanging up a shower curtain … healthy as can be, fell right on her hip. She was in some pain,” Teator said, who responded to the call. Though his shift only had 15 minutes left, the call came in on his watch. “Of course, I didn’t get out until 8 p.m.”
Teator, 72, has been working with several different emergency medical services within the Town of Colonie for more than 50 years. In between having a family and traveling across the country for work, he was able to devote the remainder of his free time to lending a helping hand to his community. He only volunteers twice a week now with the Western Turnpike Rescue Squad and infrequently volunteers as a fire policeman with Colonie’s Midway Fire Department, and Teator will officially retire from it all on May 31.
“I guess I’m burnt out,” Teator said, smiling.
Born in Watervliet, Teator attended Colonie Central High School and studied electrical engineering at Hudson Valley Community College. He decided to focus his engineering talents by working on telephone equipment.
After working a slew of jobs straight out of college, he eventually landed a spot with Western Electric Company, now known as Luca Technologies, in Utica, and stayed there until he retired 41 years later. Teator installed telephone equipment in central offices or businesses for the bell system and traveled throughout the country.
“(It was) interesting work. Not doing the same thing every day. (I liked) traveling around. I was in Georgia during the Olympics, Baton Rouge in the summer,” Teator said.