What it means to me to have my parent or guardian involved in securing our community.
By Cameron Hein
I'm the kind of kid that used to check his closet at night to make sure there weren't any harmful monsters creeping in the dark. Growing up, I was the one who didn't climb the tree as high as the neighbors for fear of falling too far. You wouldn't find me doing flips and jumps on the snowboarding hill because I was scared to break a bone. Whenever I'm on a boat in the water, it's a guarantee that my life jacket is buckled all the way up. It doesn't matter if I'm driving a mile down the road, or driving hundreds of miles down the expressway, my seatbelt is always secured. I've grown up a cautious person, always concerned about the safety of myself and of the people around me, and this influence is thanks to my dad, a firefighter for the city of Ann Arbor.
One of my favorite pictures from my childhood is of me, 6 years old, all suited up in my dad's turnout coat, bunker pants, boots, and SCBA at the fire station. The firefighter attire weighed about as much as I did at the time, and it came nowhere close to fitting me, but I still wore it with pride; pride for my father's service to the city of Ann Arbor and the surrounding communities. I loved visiting Station 5, where my dad worked, and climbing into the fire trucks, looking through the gear and tools, and asking questions about the radios, switches, and ladders. Now that I am older, I have had the opportunity to tag along with my dad to help him run his training classes. Not only is he a full-time firefighter, but on his off-days he trains fire departments in advanced rescue techniques. He instructs and leads groups of firefighters in operating hydraulic equipment, tearing apart cars, overturning buses, working in confined spaces, and dealing with complicated semi-truck wrecks. From watching him teach, not only have I picked up a few useful facts about force and stabilization, but I have seen firsthand what it's like to be an effective leader of a group, how to present information in an appealing and informative manner, and how to influence others in a positive way. Through Boy Scouts and some of my other extra-curricular activities, I have acquired an interest in leadership. Observing my dad as a fire service instructor has given me a clear picture of what an effective leader looks like. Teaching, communication, delegation, and preparation are all aspects of leadership that my dad's influence has taught me.
Last summer, I worked as a camp counselor for a local day camp. Due to waterfront activities at the camp, every counselor was required to be a Red Cross certified lifeguard. I received certifications in First Aid, CPR/AED, Waterfront Lifeguard, Fundamentals of Instructor Training, and Water Safety Instructor. While working as a counselor, I applied these trainings as a lifeguard, supervisor, and swim instructor. I had one situation where I was paddling a canoe with three campers in it, and it flipped in open water. I was able to keep the campers calm, right the canoe, and safely get all four of us back into the canoe. Scenarios like these make me think of my dad and lessons I've learned from him. My ability to teach swimming lessons to young campers comes from watching him teach advanced rescue techniques. My instinct to be a leader and keep calm in stressful situations comes from his actions as a firefighter. My knowledge to be prepared with First Aid if needed is thanks to his preparation for his everyday responsibilities as a firefighter. My dad's influence has taught me to try to ensure the safety of others.
My brain is wired like an engineer. My favorite classes in school are math, physics, and robotics. For quite some time, I have known that I want to be an engineer, but I don't want a boring, sit-in- the-office job. Because of my dad's influences, I've thought about using my engineering education to solve rescue service problems and to enhance the safety of others. While sitting in my AP Physics class last year, one of the many concepts I learned about was hydraulics. I listened to the teacher lecture about Bernoulli and Pascal and all sorts of equations, and when I came home I heard similar stories at the dinner table. On that particular night, I heard about the new Hurst hydraulic tools that my dad worked with and how awesome they were. The Jaws of Life, as they are sometimes referred to, can mean the difference between a person living or dying in a car wreck. These innovative tools are engineering marvels. That's when it made sense in my head; I want to work for Hurst and design new hydraulic equipment for firefighters all across the world to use and save lives. The influence of my dad has inspired me to use my talents and interests to work for the safety of others.
I have an immeasurable amount of pride in my dad. After graduating college with a well-paying engineering career, he left the money to pursue his more meaningful lifelong dream of fighting fires. He sacrifices everything on a daily basis, including his life, to protect the safety of others. He is a leader on the Washtenaw County Technical Rescue Team, at the fire fighting scene, and at the rescue training sites. Visiting my dad at Station 5, listening to the exciting firefighting stories at the dinner table, observing him teach and lead at trainings, watching an old firefighter TV series called Emergency with my dad, listening to him talk to my Boy Scout Troop about Fire Safety, learning how to operate a fire extinguisher, and loading the equipment trailer for his firefighter trainings are all some of my favorite memories. These experiences with my dad have all played a role in shaping who I am today, and what I want to accomplish later in life.