Paying it forward. Members of the Cadyville Jr. Firemen program are (front from l-r) Taylor Duquette and Katie Downey, and back (l-r) Dylan Spellman, Danny Williams, Kellen Louis and Greg Carrow.
Taylor Duquette has been coming to the fire house since she could walk.
Her father, Butch, is a firefighter and she has always followed in his footsteps.
Today, she is part of the Cadyville Jr. Firemen program.
“I want to be a firefighter,” she said. “I like to help people.”
Jr. firefighters are members with junior status the receive scaled back training and ride alongside full-fledged firefighters on calls, helping in their capacity to extinguish the blaze.
“When I started in 2006 we were part of the Boy Scouts, and we recently switched to Jr. Firemen,” said Eric Jock, a firefighter and a lead advisor for the program. “It was started to bring young kids in the fire department.”
There are currently six youth aged 14 to 18 in the program. Since it started, five youth have graduated to become full-fledged firefighters.
Members have to be performing outstanding in school before they can join the program.
“This gets them in the public and gives them good guidelines,” Jock said. “Their whole outlook on life changes.”
They undergo training with adult firefighters, take field trips to various fire houses and perform an array of community service.
“You get to help people and you hold yourself to a higher standard,” Jock said. “It teaches them life values.
“It gets them prepared to be a full member of the department.”
The teens go on calls with adults and ride as full members, helping outside the house, holding hoses and assisting with entry.
They undergo the same training, though it is scaled back some and there are certain tools they cannot operate.
“We don't try to make them do stuff,” jock said. “We ask them what they want to do.”
They have a willingness to learn and a genuine interest in the fire service.
“These are teens that care about people and want to give back,” Jock said. “They are technically a member of junior status.”
The program provides the youth with four years of training on what the fire service is.
“I think they get a lot more respectful,” said Mr. Duquette. “They are helping their community.”
Greg Carrow joined the program because he wanted to help out his community. He also gets to learn more about the fire service and make new friends.
Since he has joined the program, the teen said he has become more respectful and accomplished.
“The toughest part is learning the trucks,” he said. “There are so many different parts.”
For Mr. Duquette's daughter, fire fighting has been in the family a long time.
Remembering every task is the toughest part of the program.
The most exciting part is going on calls and helping people.
“It has changed my life and made me more responsible,” she said.