Victor Charles Hilbert
Victor Hilbert, now residing near Lansing, Michigan, sang bass in the television program Faith for Today Quartet from 1960-1962. He was invited to join the quartet in his junior year as a music major at Atlantic Union College. Hilbert would later observe about his time with the quartet:
Singing in the Faith for Today quartet was a high point in my life. I had an interest in singing in either one of the quartets [Faith for Today Quartet or the Voice of Prophecy King's Heralds], having done a lot of quartet singing in academy and college, something I had enjoyed. I sent a resume to Elder [William] Fagal and prayed about it.
The first day of the second semester in my junior year, I was sitting in a morning class when there was knock at the door and I was asked to step outside. I was told to go to the registrar's office, that pastor Fagal was on the phone. He told me that there was an opening in the quartet and asked if I would be interested in auditioning for it. I said yes, but that I needed to check with my wife and that I would call him back in an hour. I picked her up from work and we talked and prayed about it. We decided that I should audition and, if that was where the Lord wanted us, we would go.
I called him back as promised and then left that same day for New York City. I arrived in late afternoon at the studio where the quartet was waiting. We sang for a while, they thanked me for coming, and I returned home that evening, just exhausted. I got a call from Elder Fagal in the afternoon of the following day. He said they had taken a tape of our singing and played it for all the employees at worship that morning and everyone had voted for me to come. After checking with my wife and then with him to see if they had work for her, I said we would come. She ended up being Elder Fagal's secretary.
I joined them right away and within four days we had practiced, been outfitted with suits, and had driven to Washington to sing at the Sligo church for the annual Faith for Today offering weekend. Fortunately I had sung several of the songs they were singing, and that helped.
Singing with the quartet meant a lot of travel. Within a month after singing at Sligo, the quartet traveled to Nova Scotia, where they sang for a live televised evangelistic series for two weeks. The extensive traveling, which included six weeks on the road in the summers, along with the usual demands of preparing for the telecasts, created a rigorous schedule.
In 1962, the Hilberts decided to move to Michigan, where he could resume music study that fall at Emmanuel Missionary College, now Andrews University, and they could start a family. He completed a B.Mus. in 1964, and that fall began directing the choirs and teaching voice at Shenandoah Valley Academy in Virginia. While teaching at SVA, he completed a master's degree in music at AU in 1966.
In 1970, he became principal at Spencerville Junior Academy in Maryland. Three years later, he accepted the position of associate superintendent of education in the Michigan conference. Although he liked the work and was successful in that position, he wanted to spend more time with his family and, in 1975, became principal at Minneapolis Junior Academy, a position he held for six years. While at MJA, he completed an Education Specialist's Degree in Educational Administration in 1980 at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.
In 1981, he became principal at Maplewood Academy and, two years later, accepted a position as Development Director of the Minnesota Conference. In 1984, he successfully applied for the position of fire chief for the Delta Township Fire Department, a suburb in Lansing, Michigan.
Since his sophomore year in academy, Hilbert had been active in the volunteer fire department in Lancaster, Massachusetts. At age 18 he was voted in as the youngest member ever in the history of that fire department, a distinction that still stands. A year later he became a lieutenant, the youngest person to serve as an officer in the department.
In subsequent years and positions, Hilbert continued to serve in volunteer fire departments. At SVA he served as Fire Chief of the school's fire department and taught a class at the school in fire fighting. He also served with other volunteer fire departments in subsequent positions, at one point teaching a class on fire fighting tactics and strategies at Lansing Community College, when he served in the Michigan Conference office in Lansing.
As chief of the Delta Township Fire Department Hilbert has distinguished himself, revitalizing the department through building two new stations, purchasing new equipment, instituting training programs, and establishing improved policies and procedures.
Under His leadership, described by his men as visionary, the department has become a source of pride for the community and is often referred to as one of the premier fire departments in Central Michigan. He has expanded services to include fire, rescue, hazardous material, and special operations responses, including the operation of four ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) ambulances. He also serves as the township's Emergency Management Coordinator.
Hilbert was active in the "Pennies from Heaven" fundraising campaign in support of the widows and children of firefighters and police officers who died at the time of the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. He traveled to New York with executives from the Fraternal Order of Police to present $100,000 to the police fund and $128,000 to the Fire Officers' "Bravest Fund."
Additionally, Hilbert has been active in the Michigan Association of Fire Chiefs and served as president of the Western Michigan Fire Chiefs Association. In recognition of his work, he was awarded the prestigious Michigan State Fire Chief of the Year Award in July 2007, cited for his dedication and commitment to the Michigan fire service community.
Hilbert serves as an elder at the Lansing Seventh-day Adventist Church and is a frequent visitor at hospitals and nursing homes in the area. In spite of his many commitments and busy schedule, he still sings frequently.
Sources; Interview, October 2007: Personal Knowledge.