From guaranteed excitement to great camaraderie, George "Ed" Seagraves had a lot of reasons to pursue a career as a firefighter.
The regular opportunities to provide assistance to others, however, is what the longtime Lombard resident says he loved most about his job.
"It boils down to you go out and help people," he said.
For 25 years, Seagraves served as chief of the Lombard Fire Department. During that time, he found ways to help others outside of work, from serving as a boys' basketball coach at Christ the King School to raising money for the Tri-Town YMCA.
Since retiring in 2010, Seagraves has begun doing even more volunteer work. He now serves as the vice president of the Lombard Historical Society and dedicates his time to the Lombard Rotary Club, among other activities.
All of his experiences were mentioned in three nomination letters submitted to the Lombard Jaycees that resulted in him being named the 2013 Lombard Man of the Year on May 5.
"He has a true love of this town and wants to see it succeed," said Lombard Jaycees President Jackie West. "He's just an all-around good guy."
West said the award is presented each year to a man who lives or works in Lombard and exemplifies the six pillars of "Character Counts," which include trustworthiness, citizenship, respect, responsibility, caring and fairness.
"When I got the phone call I was really surprised," Seagraves said. "It's an honor. It's quite a group to be with."
Since accepting the award, Seagraves said he has received calls from former recipients who welcomed him to "the club." Together, they will pick future Men of the Year.
A fellow Rotarian wrote in a nomination letter that Seagraves' devotion to his community reflects the character of the man.
"Although he was born and raised in Tennessee, he chose Lombard for his home -- the place he wanted to raise his family and the community in which he wanted to serve," the letter read.
When Seagraves moved to Lombard from Kansas to take on the role of fire chief he had no intention of staying more than three years. But he enjoyed his job, started planting roots in the community and decided to stay.
Seagraves and his wife debated whether they wanted to move somewhere new to enjoy their retirement, but they realized it would be best to stay in Lombard.
"We decided there was true value staying in your community," he said, adding that he and his wife agreed that if they were going to stay, they were going to get more involved in Lombard service organizations.
Seagraves doesn't believe the award is a reflection of a single accomplishment, but instead a nice nod to all the groups he's been involved with.
Some of his other work includes serving on the Glenbard High School District 87 Capital Improvements Referendum Committee, working as a merit badge counselor for Boy Scouts and helping out at the York Township Food Pantry. He said he hopes to get even more involved in the community in the coming months.
"I was very lucky throughout my career and my volunteer (activities) to work with some fantastic people," he said.
West said the Jaycees are always looking for nominations for the Man of the Year award. To learn more, visit lombardjaycees.org.