Over the last three weeks, I have written about my fire service journey. Last week I discussed the struggle of becoming a firefighter. This week is the success story.
I made it!
It has been said many times that something worth wanting is something worth working for and waiting for.
On my 18th birthday, two important events took place: I entered the delayed enlistment program for the U.S. Air Force, and I submitted my application to become a member of the Cedarville Fire Co. No. 1 in New Jersey.
A month later, three men showed up at our front door wearing suits and ties. In Jersey this could be a bad sign, and I wondered if someone had a score to settle with me. Then I quickly realized that they were three firefighters who came to interview me about being a member of the fire company. Fortunately, all went well and later that month I was brought on the fire department.
The photo above is the first fire engine I rode when I was three years old, and the rig was still in service when I joined the fire company.
Success! I made it to the first step as a volunteer firefighter and now on to the second step of becoming a firefighter in the Air Force.
My book, The Furnace of Leadership Development details my path of becoming a firefighter in both the Air Force and Marine Corps, so I won’t go into that story here. However, I encourage you to buy my book at The Furnace of Leadership Development: How to Mold Integrity and Character in Today’s World: Davis, Rick: 9781733073509: Amazon.com: Books, to read about the lessons I learned along the way.
Back to civilian life
After my time in the Air Force and a stint as a civilian firefighter with the Air Force, I joined the Marine Corps as a firefighter. There is a night and day difference between the two branches of the service. I adapted well to life in the Marine Corps, but unfortunately, I injured my knee and had to separate after three years. Leaving the Corps and returning to civilian life was a hard adjustment for me, and I struggled for a long time.
Loveland Fire Rescue
I wasn’t sure if the knee injury would prevent me from continuing my career as a firefighter and fortunately it did not stop me.
Success! I became a member of Loveland Fire Rescue in Colorado as a volunteer firefighter and a year later I was hired full time.
My career with Loveland spanned almost thirty years and I retired as a battalion chief, a position that I loved. I loved being a battalion chief because of the troops and the time I spent with them in the stations, during training, and at the scene of emergencies. I loved molding and developing the people who were assigned to me and it was a highlight of my career as a firefighter. But I will address that more in depth next week.
During my time with Loveland Fire, I led many teams and managed several projects. I led the hazardous materials team, the wildland program, health and safety, special operations, EMS, and recruiting. Each position brought a different challenge to the table, and my favorites were haz mat and wildland. Most of my time as a battalion chief was on shift, but I had a fifteen month period where I served as the training chief.
Why am I telling my story?
My reason for writing this series of blogs is to lay a foundation for rebranding my business. Through the month of March, I will build on this story and when I’m through, you will see the passion that I have for the fire service and my desire to work with and develop fire officers. At the end of this series, I will reveal the new name of my business and the URL of my new website.