Thought this article may interest some of you.
Posted on Thu, Oct. 10, 2002
Three explorers get insight into `best job in world
BY MARIA ELIA MOYA POSAS
Three years ago, Lizzette Fernandez, Oscar Gomez and Ivan Rincon started chasing the same dream together.
Now, the pursuit is edging ever closer to what all three want -- a chance to work in a profession full of heroes.
Fernandez, Gomez and Rincon are products of an explorer program, which teaches young people about firefighting or police work.
In their case, the three got their start with the program sponsored by Coral Gables Fire Rescue, which helped cover the costs of uniforms, books and training.
Now, the three have graduated fire college and have started the tedious process of trying to land jobs. It isn't easy, but if there is anything they've learned in training, it's persistence and determination.
The trio is quick to credit the explorer program with helping them get this far.
''They are like big brothers watching their little brothers,'' Fernandez said of the firefighters she worked with. ``They watch us, and they lead us.''
The explorer program aims to teach young people 14 to 21 all they need to know about the profession -- the good, the bad and the ugly.
''This is the most demanding, dangerous job in the world,'' said Nelson Rodriguez, a 19-year firefighting veteran who helps train explorers.
Every week, the trio and other explorers would meet at a Gables fire station to learn more about the job.
First, they all had to confront the considerable physical demands.
They each had to stay in great shape and be able to lift heavy objects while wearing cumbersome firefighting gear.
Fernandez, 19 and just 5 feet tall, had to work especially hard to build her strength and meet the demands of the job.
''It is all about the technique for girls,'' she said.
Although Fernandez says there is still some minor resistence among men to the idea of female firefighters, she also said she found more support than opposition -- especially from other women.
Gables Lt. Hope Gibbs encouraged her, telling Fernandez at one point: ``If you can't do something, get mad at it.''
Fernandez also credits Lt. Angelo Pratt with keeping her focused.
Some of Fernandez's friends think she was allowed to lift less weight than her colleagues -- but that's not the case.
The standards are the same for men and women.
''It does not matter if you are a girl,'' she said. ``There is a lot of camaraderie. It is like a secret society.''
Gomez, 20, felt the most difficult part about his training was the academic requirements.
But he had some extra motivation when he felt overwhelmed by the books: his grandmother, Rosa Llanos who died recently, and his mother, Raquel Delgado. Both supported his decision to become a firefighter.
''I can be sympathetic with someone who is old, because I think about my grandmother,'' Gomez said. ``Maybe you do not feel like helping an old person to go to the bathroom at 4 a.m., but you have to do it.
``My grandmother was one of my main reasons that I became a firefighter. She gave a lot of herself and asked for nothing in return.''
Another thing that attracted Gomez was the level of trust among firefighters.
''Trust is a hard thing to find,'' he said. ``In this job, whether you like the person at your side or not, you have to trust them. I like to be relied upon.''
During his days as an explorer, he took hundreds of blood pressure readings, gave toys to needy children, and collected money for firefighters. Now, he says, it's all paid off.
Rincon, 19, also wanted to help the community.
Through the explorers, though, he learned that being a firefighter is ``more than putting the wet stuff on the red stuff.''
He recalls that during his first search-and-rescue drill he thought that ``an office job can't be that bad.''
But that was a fleeting thought.
''After a couple of times,'' he said, ``you get used to it.''
Now, the three want to turn firefighting into a career, and a way of life.
''This is the best job in the world,'' Gomez said. ``It is like being in love, sometimes you do stupid things for love, but it is worth it.''
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10-11-2002, 08:22 AM #1
An Explorer Post Doing What It Is Designed To Do09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
"Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.
10-12-2002, 07:27 AM #2
- Join Date
- Mar 2002
- Waynesboro, VA, possibly relocating to Virginia Beach in the near future!
Great article! If anyone finds any more articles, feel free to share them!These are my opinions, not those of my career department, my volunteer company, or my affiliates. And by the way, I'm not a Junior.
Buy me a drink, sing me a song, take me as I come 'cause I can't stay long.
Johnny Greene: 2/3/45-5/2/04
Forever in our hearts
10-12-2002, 01:58 PM #3
- Join Date
- May 2002
- deep run n.c/ God's Country
Very good article i believe that shows how the explorer program is really supposed to work."pain is temporary pride is forever"
10-13-2002, 01:26 AM #4
- Join Date
- Jul 2002
I agree. Im glad youposted that. I appreciate it. And maybe others will see its not a waste of time. Those that think it is, exploring."wait for.....it wait for it....your all so so so so fake"
10-13-2002, 06:01 PM #5
- Join Date
- Oct 2001
- New York
I agree! This is definitly a very well written article, and it does show a lot of how the explorer program is designed to help us out. Like ffmed said, hopefully people who read this will realize just how important the exploring programs really are.
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