It’s a relatively quiet afternoon in the breakroom at the Jon R. Tibbets Fire Station as three Firefighters/Emergency Medical Services providers prepare to talk about why they chose this particular line of work.
All three Sandoval County Fire & Rescue team members sum up this inquiry with the obligatory answer about the job being their passion. However, after digging a little deeper, each member has quite a unique backstory and reason for joining this highly demanding line of work.
Firefighter/Paramedic, Lauren Zabicki, said she joined the fire service when she was still in high school as a teenager.
“I volunteered at a small department down in Valencia County and I absolutely loved it,” she said.
As a volunteer, Zabicki said she learned quickly that being in the fire service was a very addicting job.
“I put that addiction aside for a few years when we were blessed with my daughter,” she said. “But I still volunteered in Sandoval County because I couldn’t let it go.”
Zabicki said, when her daughter was old enough, she decided to move into the fire service as a full-time career.
“I think from a young age it was instilled in me to do this,” she said. “I love the paramilitary component of it, I love the teamwork, and having a secondary family that you can rely on.”
Another aspect of the job Zabicki said she loved was being able to learn something new every day.
Greg Bobick, Battalion Chief for SCFR, said his dad was a paramedic in the military for 21 years, which was his inspiration to join the fire service.
“I saw how much enjoyment he got from doing his job…and ended up also falling in love with this work after taking one EMS class,” he said.
Bobick said the opportunities he has to serve his community as well the people he supervises make his job rewarding.
“I never have that feeling of dread that I have to go to work,” he said. “Instead I feel lucky that I get to go to work at such a fulfilling job.”
Firefighter/Paramedic, Luke Keenan, said he was inspired to join the SCFR/ EMS crew after working with them as a critical care flight paramedic.
“I’ve been working in EMS as a paramedic since 2008 and came in here kind of as an old man,” he said. “But this was the place I wanted to be, specifically because of how they administer their fire EMS.”
According to Keenan, the most challenging part of being in EMS is having to face a new situation on the fire ground at each call.
“In my limited experience here…every fire scene I go to is different, which makes me add more puzzle pieces into my memory bank,” he said.
SCFR Chief, Eric Masterson, said he wishes he could do more for all of the county’s EMS providers as a whole.
“We shouldn’t just be celebrating them for one week a year, instead we should be celebrating them every week for the work that they do,” he said.
Sandoval County salutes all of its EMS volunteers and staff members and hopes they stay safe out in the field.