CHICAGO - A Chicago Fire Department captain is hanging up his hat after 43 years of serving the city.
CFD Captain Patrick Ward was greeted with handshakes and hugs on his last day on the job.
"I'll miss the guys terribly, I get to work with the best bunch of people that there ever was," said Ward. "No matter what, we all have good days and bad days, but we're always together just like a regular family."
Since he was 19, Ward has dedicated his life to helping others. Ward started out as an ambulance attendant, then became an EMT and paramedic. In 1996, he fulfilled his dream of becoming a firefighter.
"Every day is like my first day, every day we do something different, you see something different, may help somebody different...that's what I'll miss," Ward said.
Ward spent the last 19 years in and out of a firehouse, saving lives and teaching the next generation of paramedics and firefighters, including his son.
"He's my hero," said his son Kyle Ward, a paramedic. "It makes me very proud and humbled."
For Ward, Thursday was a bittersweet end to a career of doing what he loves.
"I call myself lucky, I got to do what I wanted to do my whole life," said Ward.
Ward will be celebrating his 63rd birthday on Monday.