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Chuck Burris: Rescue Squad Chief, Mayor, known for his big heart

Andrew Hardy nominated McMinn County Rescue Squad Chief and Athens Mayor, Chuck Burris.

In December of last year, a small community in McMinn County is torn apart.

An EF-2 tornado tears through Athens, leaving behind destruction in it's path.

"He was out there day and night, 24 hours then he would go to work, come back and do and he had little to no sleep," said Andrew Hardy.

Andrew Hardy is talking about Chuck Burris.

Chief of the McMinn County rescue squad, the Mayor of Athens and this week's Pay It Forward recipient.

"There's no one like him. I don't think he can be replaced," said Hardy.

We, along with about a dozen others wait in the fire station for Chief Burris' arrival.

Chief Burris think he's riding around with the City Manager to look at projects.

But little does he know, the City Manager, is in on the surprise too.


After several phone calls and text messages, his squad does the next best thing to get Chief Burris' attention.

"Station paging to DC1, please respond to station 1 at this time, DC1, please respond to station 1 at this time," overheard on the radio scanners.

And just like clockwork, Chuck arrives.

He has no idea our crew are waiting inside.

"Chuck, on behalf of NewsChannel 9 and McMahan Law Firm and all of us here at the squad, we want to pay it forward to you 500 dollars for your service to the community," said Hardy.

Fighting back tears, Chuck says, "this is not about me. It's about us."

Just another example of Chuck putting others before himself.

"I've had great people to teach me what I know and I try to pass it on to ya'll," said Chief Burris.

And even though this may not be his full-time paying job, The McMinn County Rescue Squad will always have a special place in his heart.


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