A few weeks ago, I and my fellow friends, Susanna Oatmeyer and Kalynn Cresse attended Career Day at Kendall Lakes Elementary in Miami, Florida. Although we are all certified firefighters with MDFR, we appeared in the garb of our different roles: Firefighter, Special Ops Helicopter Pilot, and Special Ops Flight Medic .
We staged in the art classroom, which I quite liked because it was full of bright cheery posters and paintings that covered every inch of wall space. Classes ranging from 1st grade to 5th came in, one after the other. They rotated through the school, visiting representatives of other careers such as a Police Recovery Diver, Martial Artist, IT, etc. The students sat quietly while we introduced ourselves, talked about our department, and explained the different roles we each inhabit.
Susanna has been a firefighter for 14 years and is also a Special Ops Flight Medic, Rescue Diver, Technical Rescue Technician, and member of USAR.Â Kalynn is a Firefighter, Special Ops Helicopter Pilot and Flight Instructor. She’s flown all over the Caribbean, North and South America. I’m a firefighter on E66, a Rescue Diver, and Flight Medic. So, between the three of us we represented a broad range of specialties within the fire service that we were able to talk about.
The kids gave us their full attention and asked phenomenal questions. What do you like most about your job? How much school do you need? What is the scariest fire you’ve ever been on? Can a firefighter or pilot die when they go to work? If there’s a fire and you can’t get in the doors to put it out, can you go through a window? (That one was our future firefighter for sure.) After questions, we let them hold the ax, which was probably their favorite part.
When it was all over, I felt proud to represent this noble profession and to work alongside such accomplished, dedicated, and compassionate people. I also felt incredibly grateful to my department for giving each one of us the opportunity to follow our dreams.And, who knows, perhaps one of the boys or girls we met that day, will follow in our footsteps as well.