Listen to some of our incredible volunteers talk about why they joined — and why you should.
Olivia Turpin, District Heights VFD
Kali Ducre, Laurel VRS
Scott Staub, Branchville VFC
Taylor Grigg, Berwyn Heights VFD
“I’ve always wanted something bigger out of life. Nothing compares to the calls we’ve run and training we do.” Taylor joined the Berwyn Heights VFD in 2014, becoming a live-in Firefighter/EMT.
Anthony Medlock, Berwyn Heights VFD
“[Become a volunteer] because of the way we train and the amount of knowledgeable men and women we in the department … not just about Fire Rescue but about life itself. [It is a] great place to meet new people of different cultures as well.” Anthony has been a volunteer for nearly 20 years.
James Cao, College Park VFD
“The sooner you join, the faster you get to learn. This meaning that there is so much to learn and so much knowledge to absorb from other members and officers. Get a headstart! I joined because this field is very rewarding … you are helping people in their time of need.” James is a student at the University of Maryland in College Park studying Neurobiology and Physiology.
Tim Jones, Kentland VFD
“My father did 32 years as a firefighter in D.C. and I grew up in the firehouse with him. I fell in love with the culture, and camaraderie that since I was five years old I knew I wanted to be a part of. Check it out, go by your local fire station and see if it’s for you. Understand what you’re getting into and ask questions.” Tim joined the Kentland VFD seven years ago.
Angie Garcia, Hyattsville VFD
“I joined the fire department because I’ve always wanted to do something in my community that helps people. For someone who wants to join the fire/EMS service, I tell them DO IT!!! There is no other experience like it, No regrets!” Angie joined the Hyattsville VFD in 2014 and is a registered nurse working in critical care.
Ryan Felix, Branchville VFC
“Joining the Fire/EMS service is a very large and very rewarding commitment. From my short time at the fire station listening to the stories and lives of the members I have learned that it is a place that teaches leadership, compassion, camaraderie, among other life lessons in addition to technical skills. I am pleased to begin taking part in the community and I am anticipating learning a great deal that will aid me in my endeavors later in life.” Ryan grew up in Montgomery County and joined Branchville VFC in 2016 as a rookie. He’s a student at the University of Maryland majoring in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.
Balthazar Jesus Velez, Branchville VFC
“My friend stopped by my house one day and asked if I wanted to hang out at the firehouse. Once I was there I never looked back. Volunteering is a satisfying experience where you can make a difference and challenge yourself every day.” BJ has been a member of the Branchville VFC for nearly 21 years since coming to the University of Maryland for college. His day job is Systems Engineer.
Will Clark, Branchville VFC
Melvin Bundy, Boulevard Heights VFD
Robb Canning, Hyattsville VFD
Jane Schmidt, Berwyn Heights VFD
“It’s a time commitment that is well worth it even if you don’t want to do it as a career. [It’s] a rewarding way to give back.” Jane has been a member of Berwyn Heights VFD for 19 years. Her day job is a Cyber Systems Engineer.
Gerard Dixon, Riverdale VFD
“I will never forget the day I realized my calling, my passion…there was a fire in my complex it was what I thought at the time was unimaginable and hopeless. But then I saw all of these trucks and a group of people dressed in gear running into the burning buildings when everyone else was running out. Something stirred in me that day… I knew in that moment I wanted to … no, that I had to help people. Throughout my years I have had the honor and privilege of working alongside the best men and women the fire department has had to offer. I have been a lieutenant, captain, vice president, and finally a life member. There are many things I can say to new and prospective members, like…if you are looking for a brotherhood, discipline, and opportunities then there is no better place to find it. But the one thing that has resonated with me throughout the years more than anything else is…hard work pays off and you will never truly experience anything more fulfilling then the moment you realized you were the tangible force that stood between life and death.” Gerard has been with the Riverdale VFD for over 25 years — joining two years after moving to Riverdale.
Brooke Smith, Laurel Volunteer Rescue Squad
“You are helping people on what very well could be one of their worst days. You’re providing the community with a sense of safety and comfort while doing what you love. I would encourage them to take any and all of the classes they are interested in and keep learning. Everyday I go to the station I realize just how much more there is to know.” Brooke joined the Laurel Volunteer Rescue Squad in 2016 — she recently graduated from college and works in pediatric urgent care.
Jennifer Breen, Forestville VFD
“Do it. Like yesterday. Some days are good some not so good. People can get on your very last nerve but it’s an experience that I would never regret doing.” Jennifer’s family has a long history in the fire/EMS service. She is a lifelong county resident.
Richard Muse, Laurel Volunteer Rescue Squad
“I would tell someone who wants to join the Fire/EMS service to go for it, don’t let any doubt stop you. You learn so much … meet so many people, do things you wouldn’t normally do, have so many opportunities ahead of you, and you gain another family that is ALWAYS there for you.” Richard works for the Federal government and has been a member of Laurel VRS for nearly 10 years.
Ashlye Stallings, Beltsville VFD
“My intention as a volunteer was to enroll in classes and be a great provider. Professionalism, camaraderie, pride, tradition, discipline was an example to follow. Better yet a lifestyle to adapt to, expressing interest as a position in the fire department. It’s been a honor to respond for our citizens safety, health and welfare. Our combination department is a great place to work side by side with each other during life and property saving initiatives. “ Ashlye is a live-in member of the Beltsville VFD, where she joined in 2013 as a Firefighter/EMT.