This #YouAreGovX member profile comes from Timothy, who's served as a volunteer in Woodville OH for over seven years.
My great-great grandfather was an original charter member in Woodville, all the way up to my father. I was raised around the fire department since before I can remember, sitting in the trucks with my dad. There was never any doubt that I wanted to do this.
Even in this little town, I've had the opportunity to do quite a great deal. I've worked several fires in the large limestone plant here in town; in the tunnels, storage facilities, and the kilns. There's almost always one or two brush fires a year during harvest season and summer. And our little town sits on US Route 20, right next to the Ohio State Turnpike, so we have several vehicular accidents.
As a volunteer firefighter, we have to take our own full-time work schedules at our other jobs into consideration when going on calls. Ohio is very kind to this sort of thing, since about 70% of their firefighting force is volunteers (don’t quote me on that, though). So if we miss work because we're on a call, we can't get fired.
I got a call one morning for a structure fire, and I didn't have to be at my other job until 3 pm. I figured I had plenty of time. So I headed over. But by the time we got there, half the house was fully engulfed, and the other half was already starting to catch. This was gonna be a bad one. We ended up having to call in a few other local departments for mutual aid, to bring in more water and a tanker shuttle.
It was an old house, with rooms stuffed way fuller than they should've been, like one of those hoarder houses. I knew were in for the long haul.
At noon, half of the house was still on fire. We were pulling crap out of the other rooms so the rest of the house wouldn't rekindle. Eventually I was so drained I needed to take a break.
That's when I realized I left my cell phone at home. I was so dialed in, I didn’t even think about it.
I borrowed a cell phone from one of our EMS crews and dialed 411 to reach the place where I worked. I told my boss I wouldn’t be coming in, and he wasn't too happy. I hung up the phone and was about to dial my girlfriend to give her an update, and promptly noticed I hadn't memorized her phone number. I mean seriously, who memorizes phone numbers these days?
After several more hours, we finally took down the fire. We didn't get clear of the scene until around 8 pm, and it took two hours to clean the soaked, filthy trucks back at the station.
I got home at about 10:30 to a very angry girlfriend. 19 hours straight of zero contact with me made her incredibly worried, and really soured her mood. She was livid.
I managed to explain everything to her, and she eventually calmed down. We'd been together only three months, and this was the first time I'd gone out on a fire while dating her. I felt really bad for leaving the phone at home and worrying her so much.
But we managed to hash everything out.
And now I'm married to her. I've got her phone number memorized.