SPFD ‘Explorers’ Program Has Renewed Interest
By Brandi Makuski
Stevens Point firefighters soon could be training young men and women who will one day replace them.
Just under a dozen young adults, along with the parents, attended an open house for the Stevens Point Fire Department’s Explorers program. Those who join will meet monthly and learn more about the Fire and EMS departments.
“They’ll be doing the same things our guys do,” said Fire Chief Bob Finn at the December meeting of the Police & Fire Commission. “From a recruitment standpoint this is ideal because we’ll know how many of kids locally would be interested in this kind of work.”
“This isn’t an easy job,” Joe Gemza, assistant EMS chief, said during Thursday’s open house. “But I love my job. I love my job- I come to work everyday and know I’m going to be doing something completely different.”
The Explorers program was last offered locally about 15 years ago, according to Dean Bushey. Bushey is the executive for the Boys Scouts Samoset Council Mushkodany District, which is partnering with SPFD to run the program- but notes boys and girls are equally welcome.
“We’re trying to help expose young people to the Explorers and different career opportunities,” Bushey said, adding future local programs will include aviation, as well as broadcasting through UW-Stevens Point, provided there’s enough interest.
“I had no idea what I wanted to do when I was in eleventh grade,” Bushey said, laughing. “This just gives them exposure to different careers they can chose. But the thanks goes to the fire department and Stevens Point EMS- it wasn’t for these gentlemen here, wanting to make this happen, there wouldn’t be a program.”
The Explorers program meets monthly at the Stevens Point Fire Department, 1701 Franklin St. For more information contact Firefighter Shane Westphal at (715) 344-1833