Troy firefighter William Miller has been volunteering for his community since 1987. But when tragedy struck outside the Capital Region, Miller decided to help others from beyond his hometown.

Miller joined the Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team after the Oklahoma City bombing and has stepped in to assist with disasters since--including after terrorists struck the World Trade Center on 9/11.

As part of the “Hometown Heroes” series, we’ve partnered with County Waste and Latham Ford to celebrate local unsung heroes for their good deeds and honorable work.

We asked William a few questions about his work. Here’s what he had to say:

Q: What inspires you as a firefighter and volunteer on the USAR team?

A: Family and serving the community of Troy, NY since August 1987. Everyone you work with becomes a member of your family, you essentially have more than one family. Responding to the WTC was definitely a life-changing experience; knowing that as time went on, the chances of finding anyone alive was slipping by. After three days, you knew it was going to turn into body recovery only.

Q: What's the most rewarding thing about what you do?

A: Being able to meet someone who was in cardiac arrest and was able to reverse that and later walk out of the hospital. The same also happens when you take care of someone involved in a serious accident, gun shot or stabbing leaving the hospital under their own strength.

Q: What are some challenges?

A: Every day you go to work is a challenge because you just don't know what you will walk into when the call comes in. Whether it is a fire, rescue or medical call, you have to rely on the information that was given to the dispatcher. We always assume the worst until the end of the call. The challenge is not to go outside of your training. Our lives are on the line everyday we work. If you go by your training, then everyone goes home.

Q: Do you consider yourself a "hero?" Why or why not?

A: I don't consider myself a hero because I chose public service as a career. I consider myself a good role model for the citizens of Troy and the future firefighters.