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Carmel Fire honors Joseph Butts for lifetime of service

CARMEL, Ind. (The Reporter) — Joseph Butts, who has served the Carmel Fire Department for over 40 years, was honored with a retirement event Friday afternoon at Fire Station 45, 10701 N. College Ave., Carmel.

The invocation was offered by Chaplain Doug Kizer, and speakers included Firefighter Andrew Butts, Lieutenant Cory Essex, Captain Mark Deitsch, Lieutenant Andy Wyant, and Firefighter Tim Griffin. Chief Haboush presented gifts from the fire department, and gifts from the union were presented by Chief JC Mitchell. Indiana State Fire Marshal Joel Thacker presented the Meritorious Service Award, and Engineer Dan Edwards made the flag presentation.

Tim Griffin, speaking as a member of the Executive Board for the Carmel Professional Firefighters Local 4444, told The Reporter Butts has worked his entire career on shift.

“He has never had an office job and he served most of his 40 years on Engine 41, which is the busiest engine in the county,” Griffin said. “Joe has been a true friend and mentor to many of us. Several of us, me included, see him not only as a mentor, but as family.”

Griffin said there were many times Engine 41 would go to a call to a residence to where the issue was not a fire, but a smoke detector sounding a faulty alarm. He told The Reporter there were many times this would happen in the home of an elderly person and Butts would lead the crew to go directly to Ace Hardware or another store to buy a new detector, turn around and return to the home and install it for the older homeowner who had the false alarm.

“That’s just the kind guy he is,” Griffin said. “That’s the kind of leadership by example he always gives.”

According to Griffin, Butts’ dedication to the department goes so deep that he has been known to spend his days off at live fire training, spending the day helping set up, train and close up at the end of the day.

When asked by the Reporter what the best part of being a firefighter was, Butts replied, “It’s public service, that’s all it is. Everybody has a family. You have to think about the family member that you touch as if it was your own family.”

Butts has served Carmel Fire with his wife, Renee, who joined Carmel Fire in 1997, and son Drew, who joined in 2016.