WETUMPKA, AL (WSFA) - In law enforcement circles, Danny Billingsley was a little older than most who become chief. It was a lifelong dream realized when he was 65.
"It was one of his goals to strike off his bucket list," said Interim Police Chief Greg Benton.
Benton will never forget his friend. Chief Billingsley died from cancer. He was 68.
"He was the most compassionate man I've ever known, to be honest, and he loved this community," Benton explained.
Not far from Wetumpka City Hall, Mayor Jerry Willis says he couldn't think of a finer man.
"Everybody loved him. He spent a lot of time in the community," Willis said.
Billingsley retired from the Montgomery Police Department with the rank of captain. He later went to work for the Alabama Attorney General's office and retired from there as well.
But he always kept an eye on wanting to become a chief. Wetumpka provided that opportunity and allowed him to take over a department that had just suspended, then fired its chief.
Chief Billingsley's impact extends far beyond the Wetumpka Police Department and the city of Wetumpka. He had a heart for the less fortunate around the world.
"He led over 50 mission trips to foreign countries putting together teams to build churches," said Willis.
Whether it was holding down the law or building churches, Danny Billingsley more than earned his stripes according to those who knew. A grateful city offers its eternal salute.
Billingsley's funeral is now set; visitation will be at 4 p.m. Sunday at Leak Memory Chapel on Lincoln Road in Montgomery. The funeral will be on Monday beginning at 11 a.m. at Evangel Temple on Vaughn Road in Montgomery. Graveside services will follow at Greenwood Cemetery.