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Retiring fire chief recipient of KHQA Hometown Hero award

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It was the passing of the guard Thursday at the Hannibal Fire Department.

Sean Hampton retired after three years as chief, but his career spans almost 25 years.

On behalf of our sponsors Hilbing Autobody and Peters Heating and Air Conditioning, Hampton is KHQA's latest Hometown Heroes winner.

For a job that puts brave men and women in constant danger, Hannibal's Station 1 crew says there's no one better at your side than Hampton.

The bitterness of making your passion your career is that for some, that journey comes to an end.

But it's peace for Hampton, who was first a police officer before committing to the fraternity of firefighters.

"I transferred in March of 1995 and I've had no regrets," Hampton said. "I enjoyed my time in law enforcement but I would have been missing something in life if I had not had this career in the fire service."

Hampton has held almost every title in the building.

Those include firefighter, motor pump operator, and captain before accepting a promotion as Assistant Fire Chief in 2011.

Hampton was sworn in as Chief just four years later.

The Hannibal Fire Department gathered Wednesday to honor Hampton.

Plaques, an ax, and a meal to show thanks to the man no one wants to see leave.

BENJAMIN "You can look at Sean and say that's a way a man should carry himself through his career here," New Hannibal Fire Chief Mike Benjamin said.

"I think people know we are here but don't always think of us until they need us so to get an honor like this and know people are thinking about you is very humbling," Hampton said.

"He's very much a solid part of this community," City manager Jeff LaGarce said. "It's been Sean's job but I think it goes to a passion beyond that."

It's a passion for family.

Hampton says firefighters spend 1/3 of their life together.

As Union President he helped protect firefighter's families by locking in the departments first collective bargaining deal with the city.

"You go to work some days and know those things are taken care of for your family," Hampton said. "You come to work more relaxed and know you don't have to worry about those benefits if something were to happen to you."

Hampton says if he can pass on one piece of advice, it is to remain loyal to your passion.

"To aspire high, aim high with whatever you are doing, and set your goals to something you will achieve."

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