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A lifetime of service

After half-century volunteering with EMS and fire, Colonie resident stepping off call

— Teator married in 1963, had two sons, and settled his family in Colonie. Yet with his job, he continued to travel and called himself “The Suitcase Man.”

“Leave on Sunday night, come home on Friday night,” Teator said.

Though he spent much of his life away from home, he still found the time to begin volunteering with Colonie EMS in 1962 and shortly after, the Fire Department in West Albany on the weekends.

“You did what you could on weekends, or on your days off,” Teator said.

In 1965, he joined the Midway Fire Department and in 1978, trained as an EMT. Teator said he convinced his boss to let him stay in certain places while on the job in order to complete his training away from home.

When he eventually retired from his job in 2002, Teator continued to volunteer and began to work as a fire policeman for the Colonie Fire Department, where he will protect a scene and redirect traffic.

“You have to watch yourself, you can get hit and killed, too,” Teator said. “I’ve been pretty lucky so far. Your life is always in danger if you’re on the road, especially in this day and age.”

After working so many years in emergency services, Teator couldn’t say how many times he’s been in a situation that made him scared or nervous. A few years ago, he responded to a fire department call for students who had been burned alive in their car. The haunting image stayed in his mind.

“It bothered me just to get back to sleep for a couple of days,” Teator said. “Then I went on with my regular life. I get emotional too, but hey, you got to live. I just keep on going, that’s all. Try to get it out of your mind if you can.”

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Comments

McLen 1 year, 5 months ago

Bill actually isn't a volunteer at WTRS, he is a regular employee. Also, Western Turnpike is in the Town of Guilderland, not Colonie. Bill was an EMT in Colonie for a very, very long time. He has also been at Western Turnpike for about 11 years. The community will miss him a lot.

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