Friday, April 08, 2005

I'm a Firefighter's Plaything

This morning I was talking to my wife, Sara Errington, after she arrived home from work, and it occurred to me that I've never mentioned her in this space. So I'm going to come right out with it here - I'm a firefighter's plaything!

Sara and I met when we were both graduate students at Brown University; me in physics (obviously) and Sara in history. Sara knew from early on that she didn't want to be an academic (or, as she puts it - "I can't stand most students") and so, after completing her Ph.D. in early American history, she became a journalist and worked for the Lorain Morning Journal while we lived in Cleveland. After we moved to Syracuse, she landed a nice job with the Post Standard, where she worked for four years. Her analytic, research and writing skills were well suited to journalism and she enjoyed this line of work. However, this isn't the end of her story.

During the first few months at the Post Standard, she was covering an accident scene at which there were volunteer firefighters attending. She commented about what a good time they seemed to be having and they had an application in her hands within a couple of days. She has been a volunteer in DeWitt ever since, rather rapidly becoming a Lieutenant there.

Sara realized relatively quickly that she loved the fire service so much that she wanted to do it full time. After acing the written test two and a half years ago and waiting out a two-year hiring freeze, she was accepted into the Syracuse Fire Academy in August 2004 and graduated in mid-November of that year. She is now one of only three female firefighters in the City of Syracuse (out of 390), and is based at Station 18 in the Valley area.

Needless to say, Sara's path from historian to journalist to firefighter is pretty unusual, even more so because she is a woman and the fire service is still a predominantly male environment. However, her colleagues treat her very well (for the most part) and it is hard to describe how happy she is with her career. I can also report that life's a blast as a firefighter's guy.
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