Cleveland firefighter Bilal Akram will compete on Monday night's episode of 'Let's Ask America'

CLEVELAND - A local firefighter with nearly 30 years of service with the Cleveland Fire Department will be featured Monday night in a "Hometown Heroes" special on a national TV game show.

Monday night, Bilal Akram of Cleveland Heights will compete to win up to $50,000 on "Let's Ask America."

"Let's Ask America" is the TV game show where contestants can win money from the comfort of their own home. Four contestants are chosen to play the game via Skype from their home, answering questions about fun and irreverent topics to find out what people are thinking.

The 54-year-old married father of four applied to be on the show back in October and found out the same month he had made the cut. The special "Hometown Heroes" episode features those who give back to their communities.

I never thought I'd be picked for this!" he exclaimed.

Akram competed on the game show using Skype and said the game wasn't hard to understand or play – it was the type of questions asked that got him.

"I tried to use logic, but some of the questions weren't logical!" he said. "People will get a big laugh when they watch. I'll say that much."

Akram will celebrate his 28th anniversary with the CFD in April. He also is a mentor for young, African-American males at Cleveland Municipal Schools. Akram said the best part about the experience is getting to represent the fire department as well as the city of Cleveland.

"I love my job. I have an international brotherhood and they all understand there is a risk-reward factor associated with our job," he said. "The respect we get in the community ... no matter where I go, when people find out I'm a firefighter, there's an instant trust there."

As for the "Hometown Heroes" special, Akram said he defines the word "hero" as someone who goes out and does uncommon things, commonly.

"A person who does their job saving lives, helping people, but is not looking for recognition in the process, " he said.

Watch NewsChannel5 at 7:30 p.m. Monday to watch Bilal Akram compete to win up to $50,000 on "Let's Ask America."

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