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McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
Burning Ring of Fire – Future Firefighters
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By Steve Moody
March 16, 2013 5:30 p.m.



Early this morning the fire department responded to the hospital to protect the Life Team helicopter landing zone. Firefighter Shawn Hayes was one of those who responded. He recently graduated with his fire science degree and has been pursuing a full time firefighter position. Shawn proudly informed me that he “got the call” and will soon call himself a Great Bend Firefighter.

Right on Shawn’s coat tail is another young man from Stafford County. Brandon Clark will enter that same fire science program this upcoming year. When he finally goes in for his firefighter interview they will have a question of the sort that asks about desire. I would advise him to give the interview board a copy of his English essay – Burning Ring of Fire. That essay is shown below.

Congratulations Shawn & Good Luck Brandon!

North 5th 7



by Brandon Clark



Burning Ring of Fire

Fire is the rapid oxidation of a material in the exothermic chemical process of combustion. Humans use it to generate heat and light. I, however, found fire in my soul one summer day that forever changed my life.

Sitting at home after a long day at work, the fire tone screeched from the pager. Scrambling out to my pick-up, I nervously drove to the fire station.

Man, I hope this is going to be huge.

My wish was granted. We needed to get a truck from the Radium station, and the chief told me to get in with him. As we raced towards Radium, I felt like I was hyperventilating. This could be huge! Trying to ignore the beating of my heart and wondering why my legs were shaking, I hopped into the driver’s seat. The engine roared to life and then quickly died when I shifted into gear. Oops! I forgot to release the parking brake. No problem. Easy fix.

Racing towards the fire, I kept checking my mirrors and telling myself to breathe. I can do this. I am a firefighter. Where is this fire? I should be there by now. Glancing at the speed-o-meter, I noticed I was blazing a trail at fifty-five miles per hour. I looked out the window. A bird flying in the same direction passed me?! There was no way I was going fifty-five miles per hour. Trying to slow down my thoughts and stop my body from shaking, I had to focus on what I needed to do. I pulled up to the scene, a wheat stubble field with burning straw bales. This could be dangerous.

“Where do you want me?” I yelled.



“Head to the north side and take Angela with you,” replied Rob, the chief.

Driving along, while Angela sprayed the flames, I felt strangely calm. The adrenaline was still flowing, but I was thinking clearly. We are a team, but each person had a vital job to do. No one person can do it alone. This is when I decided I want to be a part of that team.

I decided I would go to college and major in fire science. That day battling the fire changed my life and gave me direction. Just like when a fire destroys vegetation and structures, it leaves an opportunity for re-growth and rebuilding.

Fire Science is now my burning ring of fire.

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