PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — After devoting 26 years of service to the East Peoria Fire Department Assistant Chief Dan Decker is retiring.

His last day is Saturday and Decker said he will miss many things about being a firefighter.

“I’m very close to the people; that’s what I’ll miss the most,” he says. “Fortunately still being on the city council I’ll get to see them quite a bit and I’ve told many people that if it wasn’t for that, I’m not so sure how easy it’d be to leave.”

According to Decker, as a little boy accompanying his father — also an East Peoria fireman — to the firehouse is something he always remembered and cherished.

That inspired him to take on this line of work and the assistant chief said he can’t think of anything else that would have made him happier all these years than being a firefighter.

“I love going on calls,” Decker said. “I don’t want bad things to happen to people, but if they do I want to be there.”

He said his passion and love for the profession stems from supporting people in their darkest hour.

“Something that is difficult to describe,” said Decker. “Things don’t always turn out the way we want them to and even in those times it at least feels good to be there and try to help.”