CLAYTON, N.Y. (WWNY) - Charlie Solar has been part of the Clayton Volunteer Department for more than 78 years. At one point he was the chief.
“I tried to do what I could for the community. I like it here. I was born here,” he said.
At 97 years old, Charlie is sharp as a tack. He tries to make every fire department meeting he can, with a little help from his fellow firefighters.
They usually pick him up in the station truck, but a few weeks ago Charlie went on a very special ride..
“I got in the truck. Pretty soon on the way down they had an alarm. Zoom,” he said.
Along with his brothers, Charlie responded to fire call, something he hadn’t done in a while
“It wasn’t much to it, but I was there. My chief can verify it. I said to Scott, ‘Do you want me to go up the pole,’” he said.
Charlie isn’t just a veteran of the fire department, he’s also an Army veteran.
Charlie served from 1942 to 1945 during World War II.
He helped build an airfield and unload ships in England. The veteran was honorably discharged and awarded the African Middle Eastern Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal and the WWII Victory Medal.
“If I had to do it all over again, I would. I would wanna go with the same people though,” said Charlie.
Charlie has had some accomplishments in the north country, too. He was the first person to ever win Clayton Citizen of the Year.