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The Chillicothe Voice

Why I Joined the Chillicothe Fire Department

Jul 26, 2022 05:59PM ● By Tyler Millar
     My name is Tyler Millar; I am lucky enough to have married my high school sweetheart. We have four amazing kids that keep us both very busy. We have lived in Illinois for five years, and four of those years happily in Chillicothe. Initially, my company moved us out here, and we thought, where are we? Having spent our lives growing up in Southern California, moving to Chillicothe was an adjustment, to say the least! We were used to jacket weather being 70 degrees.
    Today, my full-time job is entirely remote. And we can live anywhere we want, but we choose to live here. We love it. We bought our home on several acres and love that we can watch our kids be kids and not get lost in the shuffle of life.
    So, why did I become a volunteer firefighter? I could tell you that firefighting has been a dream of mine since I was a kid, but that’s not the case. My dream of becoming a firefighter actually started when my family needed help. My mom, who had been living with us while she battled stage four breast cancer, started having trouble breathing and unusual chest pains and needed attention fast. We called 9-1-1, and four firefighters showed up at our home and gave her the care she desperately needed; simultaneously, these amazing firefighters took the time to make my young family comfortable during this ordeal.
    About a week after our initial meeting, one of the firefighters reached out to check on us and invited our family to the station for a tour. I thought, “Sure, why not? The kids would love it.” While the kids did enjoy it, I was the one who fell in love. The moment I stepped into that station, I felt this rush, this pride, this need to be part of the team. But how? I’m 35 years old and have no experience in firefighting. Is this even possible?
    Trying to keep my cool and not show my excitement when I noticed a sign that read “Join now,” I casually asked one of the firefighters, “How can I become a Chillicothe volunteer firefighter?” And that’s where my journey began.
    Fast-forward eight incredible months. I’ve gone through EMR training; a top-tier fire college; hours and hours of ongoing Monday-night training, ranging from Hazmat to invaluable firefighting techniques; and continuous learning about the endless amount of equipment we use daily. I’ve even been fortunate to participate in several events representing our department throughout central Illinois, such as the Emergency Expo at the Shoppes at Grand Prairie. I’ve also had the opportunity to take on new administration duties, and honestly found new friends for life. Currently. I am continuing my education and becoming a state-certified EMT for the department, learning how to better serve the people of our beautiful community.
    For me, the coolest part of all this is that it happened because of the kindness and selflessness of four volunteer firefighters and a straightforward question that changed my life forever: “How can I become a Chillicothe volunteer firefighter?”