Stephen Wilson fighting fires for over three decades
Published 8:07 am Wednesday, September 13, 2023
The Highland Home Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department has been a home-away-from-home for Assistant Fire Chief Stephen Wilson for over 31 years and counting.
In May 1991 Wilson joined the department as a highschool student and discovered a love for being a first responder that he just could nott walk away from.
Wilson said he knew at the time that serving his community was something he wanted to continue to do and felt it was his duty to go above and beyond the work he was already doing within the department.
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During his first ten years as a firefighter, Wilson began to see a need to have more emergency medical personnel within the department, so he jumped to action by pursuing his Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification and followed that by becoming a registered paramedic in 2001.
Wilson beamed with pride as he recalled the ways his choice to pursue further training altered the course of his life.
“This is my hometown community and I wanted to serve my home,” Wilson said. “We had one EMT at the time and I knew we needed more. That’s ultimately what sparked me to chase a lifelong career not just in EMS (emergency medical services) but being a first responder in general.”
In addition to being on the front lines when an emergency situation arises, Wilson is tasked with carrying out all administrative duties for the department which include but aren’t limited to handling all department paperwork, tracking meetings, paying bills, and keeping up with all staff and operations, a task which Wilson admitted can sometimes be a challenge in itself.
When asked about his role within a rural volunteer fire department, Wilson said that he feels the public often misunderstands the true meaning of the prefix “volunteer”.
“I wish that more people really and truly knew the real work that we do and beyond that, the amount of training we go through,” Wilson remarked. “A lot of people just look at us as volunteers who don’t know what we’re doing, but we actually have some very highly trained people that hold a lot of professional certifications that do this job inside the fire department. We just volunteer our time to do it.”
One of the things that makes Wilson proud about his choice to pursue a career as a first responder is that his sons, Blaine and Blake Wilson, chose to follow in his footsteps. Both of his sons are in the process of receiving their firefighter certifications, and Blake already holds his EMT license. Both currently volunteer with the Highland Home Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department.
Wilson said the department is always on the lookout for others in the Highland Home area who share a passion for serving the community in a first responder role. Individuals who are interested in joining the department are encouraged to contact Wilson by email at email@example.com.