By CBS3 Staff

HAVERFORD TOWNSHIP, Pa. (CBS) — A Delaware County police chief is being honored for a half-century of service to the community. Eyewitness News was at the Haverford Township administration building, where officials held a special ceremony on Thursday for Chief John Viola.

On this day 50 years ago, Viola started as an officer for the department.

When he first applied, he says he was sent away for being too skinny. He only weighed 124 pounds.

“I bulked up, milkshakes, bananas and everything else. I gained 10 pounds, came back a couple weeks later, was able to get an application and then obviously journey started from there,” Viola said. “My hope is that along the way, along my journey, I made other people’s lives better, that’s always been a goal when you start.”

The chief was touted on Thursday for a generous spirit and his commitment to keeping Haverford safe for five decades.