VAN BUREN, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV)– Sixty years ago, John F. Kennedy was President, the federal minimum wage was $1.25 and a gallon of milk cost $0.49.

It also was the year Pete Taylor started serving on the Van Buren Fire Department, located in Clay County, — something he’s kept doing for six decades. 

On Sunday, dozens of community members celebrated alongside Taylor and his family at the fire house, commemorating sixty years of service. Taylor said he didn’t know what to expect, but he was taken aback by the festivities.

“I really feel humbled,” he said. “I have all these people here just for me, it’s just great.”

It’s been a decorated career in firefighting for the 78-year-old. In 2021, he won the “Mr. IVFA” award from the Indiana Volunteer Firefighter Association. He was also given an honor from the State Fire Marshal Sunday, as Taylor had his wife Beverly by his side.

Taylor thanked his family for the support over all the years– along with his community.

“This community means a lot to me. I like this community, I’ve lived here and it’s just a great community to live in,” he said. “I enjoy it. I enjoy helping the people.”

Taylor said he doesn’t have a date in mind for when he will retire. And as the congratulatory cards, hugs and presents piled up, Taylor was sure to express his gratitude– telling the crowd he wouldn’t change a thing about the past 60 years.

“I’d just like to say thanks to everyone who came out today to celebrate these 60 years with me,” he said. “It’s been a long ride, but it’s been a good ride.”