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Hoosier Lottery News

Hoosier Lottery News

Interest Stories

A Fulfilling Career Fighting Fires & Helping People: Clifton D.

07/11/20235 minutes

Hoosier Lottery Beneficiary, Local Police & Firefighters’ Pensions


As a little kid growing up in Fort Wayne, Ind., Clifton could only imagine three careers for himself: a teacher, police officer or firefighter. “Fortunately for me, I was able to live out my dream,” he said. “I am so thankful to have been a firefighter.”

Clifton worked as a firefighter in Fort Wayne for just over 20 years. He retired as a lieutenant in 2022.

Some of Clifton’s fondest memories take place in the fire house. “It’s truly a brotherhood and sisterhood,” he said. “I saw the people I worked with more than I saw my wife and kids sometimes. You eat with them, laugh with them, cry with them, feel frustration with them. They truly become your second family. That’s why it was easy to stick around for 20 years.”

He also recalled some instances when the family members of people he helped stopped by the station to say thanks. “It’s nice to know you’re making an impact, even though it’s what we signed up for,” Clifton said.

Now, in retirement, Clifton is spending more time on something he has quite a passion for: real estate. “When I was a firefighter, real estate helped me decompress,” he said. “The fire service is lots of thinking on your feet, lots of emergencies. It’s easy to get overwhelmed. This helped me relax and use other parts of my brain.”

But what Clifton is most excited about doing in retirement is spending time with his wife and four kids.

“My kids played a big role in my decision to retire when I did,” he said. “Being at the station so much, I missed a lot of their lives. But now I can watch two of them play high school athletics and watch my older two navigate their ways through college.”

Clifton calls himself “the most underpaid Uber driver in America” because he drives his daughter to all her volleyball games and practices. “My focus is to make sure I’m at as many, if not all, of my kids’ activities right now,” he said. “That’s my hobby. My kids, my family, just enjoying being home with them every night.”

When they’re not cheering on their kids, Clifton and his wife love trying new restaurants and taking advantage of everything Fort Wayne and the surrounding cities have to offer.

Clifton has been a Fort Wayne resident his entire life and has no intention of leaving. “There used to be a slogan for an amusement park in Indiana that said, ‘there’s more than corn in Indiana,’” he laughed. “And I agree. There’s more than meets the eye here in Fort Wayne. It’s a small big city, and you just grow to love it.”

The Hoosier Lottery would like to extend our sincere gratitude to Clifton and all the other fire department personnel who make a huge difference in the lives of so many, each and every day.

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