Christiansburg fire chief recognized as Virginia Volunteer Fire Chief of the Year

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CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) -- A local fire chief received a prestigious award for his service.

Christiansburg Volunteer Fire Department Chief William "Billy" Hanks, a lifelong resident of Christiansburg, accepted the Governor's Virginia Volunteer Fire Chief of the Year award at the annual Virginia Fire and Rescue Conference in Virginia Beach.

Chief Hanks has served as a member of the department since 1981, holding positions as a firefighter, engineer, lieutenant, and training officer before becoming chief in 2009.

According to a release from the town of Christiansburg, Hanks, who is a paid employee, oversees 40 volunteers and one other paid employee.

"Receiving this award is one of the top highlights of my entire career, and I couldn't be more honored," Chief Hanks said. "I'm in very good company because my counterparts across the state are very impressive and have my highest respect, so to be recognized in this manner is still a shock and something I will always treasure."

According to the release, Hanks helped establish a deputy fire marshal position and program in 2014 and also helps organize Christiansburg's annual fire prevention parade to educate children about fire safety. Hanks is also a founding member of the New River Valley Emergency Communications Regional 911 Authority's Technical Advisory Committee where he serves on the Board of Directors.

Hanks is also involved with several professional firefighter associations.