Kuttawa Fire Chief Bill Compton was presented with a Royal Lyon Distinguished Service Award on Thursday, July 7 and the honor, presented by Lyon County Judge-Executive Wade White, was in recognition of Compton’s 37 years of service with the department.

White also took a few minutes to thank the members of the volunteer fire department for their service, telling them that he appreciated the sacrifices he knows they have made.

“It’s been good working with all of you,” he said. “I know you give a lot of your time, a lot of your freedom to be a volunteer, and that requires a lot.”

White will be retiring as judge-executive at the end of his current term, and he wanted to make sure he expressed his appreciation to the department.

“I wanted to recognize Bill, and I knew I couldn’t get him to a (fiscal) court meeting,” joked White, who presented the award at the fire station, “so that’s why I had to barge in on his own meeting. And I didn’t really give him a choice to kick me out or not.”

“Usually, when people get recognized,” White explained, “it’s because they’re leaving or retiring. Bill’s not retiring. We’re not going to allow that for another 15, 20 years.”

In addition, White shared some of the ways that Compton had impacted the county in his many years of service, such as helping to upgrade the communications systems used by first responders.

“We were operating on band-aids for a long time,” White said.

Compton worked with other first responders to get grant money for new radios, which White said was one of the few things the county and two cities had worked together on. Compton also regularly visits the communications tower when there is an issue and devotes much of his time to service.

“He means a lot to me,” White said. “He means a lot to the city of Kuttawa, he means a lot to the citizens all across the county. He has responded on every inch of this whole county.”

“I completely rely upon Bill,” he continued, “and he’s never led me astray.”

White said that Compton was not only his friend, but a man he greatly respected.

“That’s nice,” Compton said when presented with the award, taking a minute to gather his thoughts. White joked that he didn’t have to make a speech, but Compton did thank the room.

“It’s teamwork,” he said. “I mean, honest to goodness, it is absolutely, absolutely teamwork. And I’ve said it here before, there’s not anything that we collectively can’t accomplish when we put our heads together and work together.

“So,” he continued, pointing at White, “I appreciate your friendship and I appreciate your trust. I’m glad to be a part of the team.”