Today, anyone who knows him will tell you that 31-year veteran Chuck Lauss is a firefighter through and through.
But it wasn't always that way for Urbana's newly appointed fire chief, whose original post-high-school plans called for enrolling at Lincoln Christian College, then joining the ministry.
While growing up in Pekin, his parents instilled in him a sense of altruism. Service-oriented but with little money for school, Lauss pursued other ways he might give back.
That led him to firefighting — a line of work that involves a lot more giving than receiving, he discovered soon after getting to know those who do it for a living.
"It's truly what they want — to give back," Lauss said. "They want to serve and make a scene a little better when they leave than when they got there. They're public servants as a whole."
Not many firefighters have the resume Lauss has put together in more than 30 years on the job, much of it in his hometown department.