Firefighter recruits training to serve Queen Creek

The individuals training to be firefighters for the Queen Creek Fire and Medical Department are: front row from left, Adam Schoenfeld, Peter Minder, Brittany Cupps, Beth Hermann and Bryan Nichols; middle row from left, Shane Melvin, A.J. Stuck, Katie Harvil, Fred Williams and Luke Ochsenfeld; and back row from left, Sigifredo Castro, Jerry Pajak, Bryan Ballou, Justin Casillas and Joe Flores. (Special to the Independent/Town of Queen Creek)

 

Fifteen firefighters were recruited to work at the replacement Fire Station No. 1 and new Fire Station No. 3, expected to open in August, in Queen Creek.

The recruits are in week six of the 15-week fire academy. Those who graduate in late May are to begin serving the community in June.

(Read related story about Fire Station No. 1 ribbon-cutting ceremony)

The recruits are:
•Bryan Ballou
Education: Skagit Valley College (Washington), Chandler Gilbert Community College.
Previous employment: PMT ambulance (EMT).
What inspired you to become a firefighter? Coming from a family in public service, I knew I wanted to get involved myself and I fell in love with firefighting.

•Justin Casillas
Education/military: EVIT 2008; MCC fire science degree
Previous employment: Mesa Fire resource management, Mesa Hotshots, Gilbert Public Schools.
What inspired you to become a firefighter: My father working in public safety was my drive along with my mother working on helping people.

•Sigifredo Castro
Education/Military: Higley High School graduate, 10 years in U.S. Army.
Previous employment: Boeing fire department.
What inspired you to become a firefighter: The brother- and sisterhood involvement, being in the Army. It was a great transition.

Brittany Cupps
Education: Bachelor’s degree in criminology and criminal justice from Arizona State University.
Previous employment: Legal technician at Salt River Project.
What inspired you to become a firefighter: I knew from a young age that I wanted to be a first responder. I’ve always felt the need to go towards a crisis rather than the opposite direction.

•Joe Flores
Education: AAS.
Previous employment: Honeywell Aerospace, Black Canyon City Fire Department.
What inspired you to become a firefighter: It was a combination of things. I appreciate camaraderie and most importantly the opportunity to give back to the service of others.

•Katie Harvil
Education: Associate’s degree. Graduated with honors and played softball in college.
Previous employment: Volunteer firefighter in Black Canyon City, Arizona.
What inspired you to become a firefighter: I have wanted to be a firefighter since I was a little girl. I grew up playing sports and I like the challenge this job brings me.

•Beth Hermanson
Education: Associate’s degree in emergency response and operations.
Previous employment: Leasing director at Mark-Taylor Residential.
What inspired you to become a firefighter: I’ve always considered myself a “people-person.’ i wanted to be put in a position where at any moment, I am able to respond to the need of someone in a positive manner, emergency or not.

•Shane Melvin
Education/military: Trade school.
Previous employment: Service advisor at Ford.
What inspired you to become a firefighter: My father. Grew up with him being a first responder.

•Peter Minder
Education/military: Chandler Gilbert Community College.
Previous employment: Physical therapy and volunteer firefighter at Black Canyon Fire Department.
What inspired you to become a firefighter: I wanted a better future for myself and to help others in my community.

•Luke Ochsenfeld
Education/military: Four years as scout sniper in Marine Corps, bachelor of science degree in parks and recreation management from Arizona State University.
Previous employment: USMC, Hotshot firefighter with Mesa IHC Forest Service, Mesa Fire and Medical resource management.
What inspired you to become a firefighter: I wanted to be able to serve the community and help others.

•Brian Nichols
Previous employment: Black Canyon Fire Department.
What inspired you to become a firefighter: The opportunity to be involved in helping the community.

•Jerry Pajak
Education/military: Bachelor of science degree in sports and fitness management.
Previous employment: Junior developer for Carvin Software.
What inspired you to become a firefighter: Wanting to follow in my older brother’s footsteps. I have always looked up to him and have seen what a great career this job can provide.

•Adam Schoenfeld
Education/Military: Bachelor’s degree in political science from Arizona State University.
Previous employment: American Express.
What inspired you to become a firefighter: A call to help others.

•A.J. Stuck
Education/military: Phoenix College, newly certified paramedic.
Previous employment: American Medical Response.
What inspired you to become a firefighter: My father and grandfather have always been my role models and I wanted to do what they did — Fight fire, respond on medical calls and give back to the community.

•Fred Williams
Education/military: High school in Oregon, Fire I and II, EMT.
Previous employment: Four years with Mesa Fire and Medical Department resource (parts and supplies). What inspired you to become a firefighter: I want to help people, learn new things, teach people what I know about fire.
Editor’s note: Constance Halonen-Wilson is the public information officer for the town of Queen Creek.

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