Hometown Hero | Howard Mullen

Published: Sep. 20, 2019 at 8:51 PM EDT
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Some are lucky enough to know their calling in life from day one. Howard Mullen is one of those people.

At age 91, Mullen has 66 years as a volunteer Meigs County Sheriff’s Deputy under his belt, and he has no plans of slowing down.

"Well as long as my health holds up and I’m in really good shape for my age. I just hang on, so to speak,” he said.

Mullen’s years of dedication have given him the title of the longest-certified law officer in Ohio, and he's never expected a dollar for the work he does -- even in moments of tragedy.

"And he said, 'The Silver Bridge has collapsed; send all available help,” Mullen said about the dispatcher that night. "I can remember the exact words all those years. It’s etched in my mind."

He was one of the first responders to the deadliest bridge disaster in American history, as he rushed to rescue people from the water.

"I helped lift a car over some fallen steel,” Mullen said.

Although he’s never been paid for the volunteer work he does, his dedication to serving others runs deep. Serving as inspiration for others like Meigs County Sheriff Keith Wood who met him as a rookie.

"You see heroes in our communities all around the country, but he’s one of these people that just stands out amongst all those that is right out there in the frontline,” Wood said.

Now years after they met, Sheriff Wood gets to present him with a WSAZ Hometown Hero award for his dedication to the county where he grew up.

"What we did here today is something that is just a small token for this community to him,” Wood said.

Making a difference, one call at a time.

"And, at my age, I’m not climbing 25-feet ladders and all that, just kind of a helping hand you might say,” Mullen said.