Brent's Story: How His Firefighting Career Took Off

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Brent first knew he wanted to be a firefighter in 10th grade when his father took him on a firefighter helicopter trip over the Hawaiian Islands, USA. As they flew from Honolulu to the Big Island, his father showed him the gauges in the cockpit. His father also taught him how to identify turbulent weather ahead. Once they got to the fire station, the firefighters showed Brent around the station.

Brent and his father spent the night at the fire station. At about two or three a.m., the station got a call that there was a fire. Brent followed his father out of the station to watch him warm up the helicopter. It was a cool night, and the wind was blowing when his father took off in the helicopter. As Brent watched, he thought about how the firefighters were going to help somebody, and he had a good feeling.

“I remember the feeling I felt,” Brent said. “It was a feeling of happiness, of pride in my father, and of being cold. I feel that moment is what got me interested in the fire department.”

Some years later, after his mission, Brent went to work at a pharmacy in Orlando, Florida, USA. Not long after he started working there, the pharmacy went out of business. He decided to attend a Florida firefighting academy shortly thereafter.

“I think it was the Lord saying, ‘All right, now, get on with your career,’ ” Brent said.

He enrolled in the firefighter and emergency medical technician program and took the Emergency Vehicle Operators Course. When he completed the program and got his certificate, he was ready to go to work as a firefighter, but he needed help preparing a résumé.

“I didn’t have a résumé,” Brent said. “I didn’t remember how to do it, except for what I learned in high school.”

His previous résumé focused on his past work experience; it did not have any information about his new firefighting training.

The Orlando Employment Resource Center manager, Gloria Purcell, said that Brent needed a résumé that specifically targeted fire departments. She helped him write a résumé that emphasized his firefighting skills and training. She also helped him to make it more organized and professional.

Brent interviewed with a city fire department. Following the initial interview, one of the lieutenants at the fire station called him to schedule a second interview with the fire chief.

He was very nervous at his second interview because it was with the fire chief, deputy chief, captain, and two shift lieutenants.

“Toward the end of our short interview, the fire chief mentioned that they would like me to work for them. I thought to myself, ‘Did he just say what I think he said?’ ”

It took Brent a couple shifts of working at the fire department before he could believe that he had actually achieved his goal to be a firefighter.

“Don’t give up,” Brent said. “Always pursue your dreams.”

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