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The Chillicothe Voice

Why I Joined the Chillicothe Fire Department - September 2022

Sep 01, 2022 01:10PM ● By Greg Zerfass
     My name is Greg Zerfass. My family and I moved to Chillicothe in 2019, following my retirement from a 22-year career in the U.S. Coast Guard. I have an amazing wife, Sally. If you are reading this, odds are you’ve seen her around town brightening everyone’s day. I am the one lucky enough to be seen in public with her! We are blessed with two wonderful daughters, Mary and Megan, who attend IVC and St. Edwards. They both love playing sports and the arts and are a true joy to watch grow up.
    My previous career took our family all around the country: Hawaii, Florida, Southern California, Seattle, and Ohio. We retired to Chillicothe to be closer to both of our families and have grown to love the place, people, and serenity of the town.
    Why choose to volunteer as a Chillicothe Firefighter? The idea first struck me while I was walking my dog one evening at IVC. Several departments from the local area were training together with their ladder trucks in the school lot and it was quite an amazing sight. Not only does every man-child (like myself) love fire trucks, but it called to the sense of belonging and purpose that tied me to a seagoing career for most of my life.
    People who are put to sea in ships form a bond. The ship can only do its job if everyone can be relied on to do their part. The same can be said for those who head into emergencies together. There are always unknown factors or dangers, and you must trust those around you to rise to those challenges when they happen. You also have the responsibility to live up to the trust they have in you. Regardless of your history or station in life, those bonds of trust transcend any differences in the moment and make for a truly special camaraderie.
    It is also a humbling responsibility to be part of the team that the community trusts when a situation gets beyond their control. It makes you want to continually improve, to keep that promise to yourself, your team, and those who put their faith in you.
    Since joining a bit over a year ago, I have had many opportunities to train with experienced firefighters and learn the basic skills to be part of the team. The opportunities to learn are always present, from formal courses to the silly mistakes made in training (more than I care to discuss here). You could spend decades trying to learn it all and only scratch the surface. All the wealth of knowledge and experience allow you to grow to whatever your goal is in the fire service.
    I am thankful to all the firefighters who have taken the time to share their knowledge with me and help me get started with the department, to the community who takes care of us, and to my amazing family for all the love, support, and understanding when the pager goes off!