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Fathers Define Futures

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MICHAEL SULLIVAN/The News-ReviewOakland Rural Fire District Fire Chief Bill Stearns, seen Friday in Oakland, is also head of the Douglas County Fire Chiefs Association.OAKLAND — Oakland Rural Fire District Chief Bill Stearns has been fighting fires in his hometown since he was 17 years old. Stearns, 57, said he followed around his father and former Chief Fay Stearns until he was old enough to join the team in 1972. “I liked it, and I liked the guys,” Stearns said. He still enjoys the camaraderie. So much so that he has stayed on the force for 40 years. He has been chief since 1984. “We’re all friends. We’re neighbors helping neighbors. We’ve got some really good people in the department,” Stearns said.

Stearns follows father’s burning passion |

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