Oldest Fire Chief, Oldest Woman Police Officer Retire In Wallace

By: April Davis/ Carly Swain
By: April Davis/ Carly Swain

A town in the east is saying farewell to a firefighter and a police officer who together have served a community nearly a century.

Chief Thomas Townsend is the oldest volunteer fire chief to retire from the Wallace Fire Department in Duplin County after 59.5 years. At 85-years-old, he says being a fireman was always in his blood and it's the people he's worked with over the years that kept him there for so long. Down the hall at the Wallace Police Department, 80-year-old Willa Currie is finishing up her last full week of work. She's the oldest female police officer in the state. She's not out on the street, but she's still a sworn officer who's been going through the same service training and qualifications as the guys on the streets since 1975. The chief says they'll find someone for her job but no one will ever really replace her.

"She's definitely once in a lifetime. If you're lucky enough to have one of them you're luckier then most people. I don't think nobody's lucky enough to find two of them in a lifetime," said Wallace Police Department Chief Bobby Maready.

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