No matter what you do in life, you always need someone to talk to, to bounce ideas off of, to confide in. I call them mentors, but no matter what you call them that person plays a significant role in how you handle things. They are the person you go to for advice, information, or when you need to vent because you know they will not judge you.
I have been very fortunate to have a lot of great mentors in my fire service career.
David Newell and Matt Rice where two of the biggest mentors that I had when I started in the fire service. They allowed a 15-year-old kid to basically shadow them constantly and learn from them. They taught me engine work, truck work, squad work, fire service history, and they allowed me to do things that usually were reserved for senior guys. They were a huge influence in my decisions to pursue this as a profession, and the department I work for today.
Poppa Burch was a retired City of Richmond Fire Captain whose son had been a volunteer at my VFD and the former Deputy Chief of the County. He was always willing to share anything he knew from his decades of fighting fire in the City of Richmond. He taught me how to parallel park a fire engine for EVOC class, and he is the reason to this day I still carry socks on the rig with me when I work.
Billy Tucker was my first Lt. at my current department and still to this day is a sounding board for anything and everything I need.
“Cricket” was my first Station Captain at my current department and the 6 years of learning from him was not enough, I still constantly seek chances to learn from him and soak up everything he has experienced and learned in 30+ years in the fire service. He is a fire service legend and I am just happy to know him.
Andrew Baxter, Alec Oughton, and Ben Martin advised, coached, and advocated for me during the promotional process. They are a big reason I got promoted, and are still coaching and encouraging me, as well as being available when I need them.
As you can see I have been pretty lucky, but I have one more guy to mention…..
That’s my Dad and my oldest son quite a few years ago when we took a day to visit him when he was on shift. My dad has been my biggest influence and mentor not only in the fire service but in my life! He is the reason I am a firefighter hands down, and like any good dad he is still always there for me for anything!
Here is my Dad, Brother, and me at my promotional ceremony. He never pushed either of us into the fire department he simply just shared his love for it, and created the opportunity.
Like I said earlier, I have been lucky but you do not need a “Murders Row” list like I have. You just need one person who is willing to take to the time and invest it in you. Then all you have to do is LISTEN!
Who are your mentors? Let us know in the comments section.
If I left you off the list it was not intentional, I could blog for days about it, just know that anyone I have ever come into contact with me has influenced me.
As usual thanks for reading and STAY SAFE!