For Kent Byers, Family is Everything

On call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And even when his scanner's quiet, the what if's keep Kent Byers up at night.
Behind the badge is a special segment that will run every Thursday at 6 PM on WEHT Local.
Behind the badge is a special segment that will run every Thursday at 6 PM on WEHT Local.
"When that tone goes off, day or night, you're expected to be there."

On call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And even when his scanner's quiet, the what if's keep Kent Byers up at night. 

"It's scary every run, doesn't matter what it is- you never know what you're going to run into."  When you leave, you don't know if you're coming home."

Byers is the Fire Chief at the Skelton-Owen Fire Territory in Tennyson, Indiana. He's been fighting fires for 35 years since he was 18 and he does it all as a volunteer.

"I've always heard people say that it's in their blood.  It is in their blood."

Kent is in the middle of three generations of firefighters, and for Kent, and his five siblings, family is everything.

"Dad was a firefighter and my mom had a scanner, and sometimes when they'd have a fire, she'd pile us all in a car and we'd watch them fight the fire."

Kent has two sons living in the Cincinnati area and one of them is also a volunteer firefighter.

"It's nice to know they've taken on the same characteristics that I've tried to pass along and that they are helping people."

Family for Kent includes those he works with as well.  And that's important in a town as small as Tennyson, where kent is likely to know the people on the other side of an alarm.

"The town population is less than 300 so everybody knows everybody.  Being in our small community, it makes it tough."

And even though for Kent, the fears and dangers are real, being able to help others is what makes it all worthwhile.

"He's a hero-he's everybody's hero. He's the neighbor's hero, he's always there when you need him.

And so we salute Kent Byers, serving his community behind the badge.
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