POMEROY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- The badge, the radio, the patch are all part of a uniform that Howard Mullen wears proudly as a volunteer Meigs County Sheriff’s deputy and the longest-certified law officer in Ohio.
Howard Mullen of the Meigs County Sheriff's Office is breaking records with 66 years as a special volunteer deputy, Ohio's longest-certified law officer.
"With the exception of eight years I’ve been with the sheriff’s department one way or another,” Mullen said.
At age 91, he has 66 years as a deputy under his belt, and he's never expected a dollar for the work he does.
"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.
For as long as he can remember he always had an interest in keeping people safe.
"Chasing a car for an 8 or 10-year-old person that’s an exciting thing you know,” Mullen said.
As a native of Pomeroy, he's honored to serve the community he grew up in.
"If you have a major wreck I can help by handling the traffic,” he said.
Over the years he's responded to hundreds of calls, but there are some he can never forget like the one on Dec. 15, 1967, when a bridge connecting Ohio to West Virginia collapsed, killing nearly 50 people.
"And he said, 'the Silver Bridge has collapsed, send all available help,” Mullen said about the dispatcher that day. "I can remember the exact words all those years. It’s etched in my mind."
As one of the first responders to the deadliest bridge disaster in American history, he rushed to rescue people from the water.
"I helped lift a cot over some fallen steel,” he said.
Even though he doesn't get paid for the work he does as a special volunteer deputy, he still has the same authority as deputies on payroll, showing that his dedication to serving others runs deep.
"We would see him out there and we all kind of looked up to him, even back then, because it was like here’s a guy that gives and gives and gives,” Meigs County Sheriff Keith Wood said.
Sheriff Wood met Mullen as a rookie and can’t imagine a day without him.
"I mean, we love him. He's one of those guys that just when he walks in the door it makes you want to do it just because somebody still wants to do that since 1953 doing this,” Wood said.
Although times have changed, Mullen keeps up.
"When we have our training for qualifications for shooting he’s out there on the range with us,” Wood said.
Always willing to go the extra mile, to keep the streets safe.
"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.
Deputy Mullen was recently honored for his dedication to law enforcement by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost.