Vice President

Andy Young

Sterling Volunteer Fire Company

8 years of service

Why did you become a volunteer?

In 2011 there was an accident with a next-door neighbor. One of his children knocked on our door for help and he was attended to by the Sterling Volunteer Rescue Squad and Sterling Volunteer Fire Company.  After the incident  Sterling Volunteer Fire and Rescue Chaplain Grant asked me to consider joining as a Chaplain. I joined Sterling Volunteer Rescue Squad in 2012.

In 2015 I decided I wanted to attend fire school and joined Sterling Volunteer Fire Company. 

What is your favorite thing about being a volunteer?

Being a volunteer has a tangible and direct impact on our community. I also enjoy the fact that my entire family has joined and we get to spend a lot of time together at events, calls, training, and crew meals.  

What is your day job?

I am an Audio-Visual Design Engineer for a defense contractor. 

What is your most memorable experience as a volunteer?

I have had many but the decision to photograph my son as he went through fire school was the most memorable. Many of the recruits, their families, and friends commented and used the photos. I really like it when a FF recruit uses my photos on their social media page. The photos have had a larger impact than I ever imagined. 

What advice do you have for future members?

1 Maintain a balance between your career/school and volunteerism.
2 Embrace that your commitment will likely put you in a position to help an unknown neighbor on the worst day of their life.
3. Ask for help when you need it. You are joining a team.
4. Enjoy the journey. This is an exciting and fast-paced job that you will never forget.

Advanced EMT Volunteer

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Dawn McKenna

Arcola Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department

3 years of service

Why did you become a volunteer?

I joined because I wanted to be part of something that matters, and feel relevant.  Arcola was instrumental in saving her life and her son’s life in 2004 (obstetrical emergency). 

What is your favorite thing about being a volunteer?

My favorite thing about volunteering are my fellow volunteers. When I got home from my first station activity where I got to know people at the station, I told my husband, “I’ve found my people.” It sounds cheesy, but I love being around them – the volunteer and career fire-rescue personnel. 

What is your day job?

I currently work for Northern Virginia EMS council at Dulles Airport, both screening airline passengers and employees for health issues, and manage other screeners. 

What is your most memorable experience as a volunteer?

Attending and completing AEMT training. “It was so challenging and rewarding.” 

What advice do you have for future members?

Dive in and let yourself be vulnerable to learning and experiencing new things.  It’s scary, but it makes you feel alive, and it’s totally worth it. 

Firefighter

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Brendon Park

Arcola Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department

3 years of service

Why did you become a volunteer?

I wanted to try something completely different, and something I never thought I would ever do.

What is your favorite thing about being a volunteer?

I’m constantly learning something new. I’m able to put into practice the new things I have learned while helping people.

What is your day job?

I work at Peets Cofee.

What is your most memorable experience as a volunteer?

Graduating fire school in Fall 2016. My classmates and I all became such good friends and I know I can always count on them when I see them on the scene of an incident. 

What advice do you have for future members?

No matter how “rewarding” it can be, you have to have your goals set; whether it is fire or EMS, you have to give it your all, there is no such thing as half effort and succeeding. 

Sargent Shauna Olevson

D14A3056

 

Ashburn Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department

2 years of service

Why did you become a volunteer?

Honestly, I watched my husband go through fire school and EMT school and I thought, “I could do that”.  I have always been interested in the medical field, so I enjoyed the content as I went through EMT school.  My husband wanted me to join the administrative side, but doing paperwork didn’t sound like fun to me, so I joined operational and love it.

What is your favorite thing about being a volunteer?

The people I have met and the relationships I have made.  Since we have to trust each other with our lives, our relationships with each other go beyond a typical work environment.

What is your day job?

I am an elementary music teacher in Ashburn, VA.  I teach music to first through fifth grade.

What is your most memorable experience as a volunteer?

Comforting a first time mom when she thought something was wrong with her infant.  As a mother, I tried to be the best support system she had while also caring to her daughter in a time of need.

What advice do you have for future members?

There will never be a perfect time to join.  I joined when I had a 10 month old baby at home and a full time job.  If it’s something you want to do, I would encourage you to join.  People always ask me how I do it – I make volunteering a priority, and everything else works itself out.

Firefighter and EMT 

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Chelsea King

Sterling Volunteer Fire Company and Loudoun County Volunteer Rescue Squad

2 years of service

Why did you become a volunteer?

I wanted to give back to my community.

What is your favorite thing about being a volunteer?

I love being able to help someone in their time of need.

What is your day job?

I work in the business management field.

What is your most memorable experience as a volunteer?

My very first shift with Sterling Volunteer Fire Company (I was a red hat) and I got to respond to a two-alarm fire.

What advice do you have for future members?

Being part of the Fire and Rescue community is something you will cherish. It definitely has its up and downs, but the lifelong friendships and memories you will make are with the endeavor.

Lt. Robert Honec

Robert Honec

Lucketts Volunteer Fire Company
10 years of service

Why did you become a volunteer?

I love volunteer work, as I think it’s important to take any underutilized time and benefit one’s community in any capacity.

What is your favorite thing about being a volunteer?

The freedom to practice a set of skills that I love knowing when it is equally convenient to to my full time job. I was once told you’ll never really realize how you have impacted someone’s life until you help them solve their emergency. That did come true when several people have thanked me for helping them get through a tough part of their life.

What is your day job?

Flow Cytometry Technologist/Research Associate Supervisors for a National Institutes of Health contractor.

What is your most memorable experience as a volunteer?

Obtaining my National Fire Protection Association and National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians/Basic Life Support certifications to volunteer as a firefighter/emergency medical technician and fire officer. I started volunteering in college when I had more free time, but I have obtained progressive fire and emergency medical services training to obtain a supervisory position at my station. I have battled class 5 swift water not only with my life jacket, but also in zodiacs in order to pick up patients.

What advice do you have for future members?

Fire-Rescue is more than a hobby, there is a real need for people capable of thinking critically under stress in a volunteer capacity. This volunteer career in Fire-Rescue will give you the opportunity to become a true leader when asked to make the best judgments under stressful situations, which can usually only be seen elsewhere with the US Military.

Jen Wilkins
Membership Coordinator

Leesburg Volunteer Fire Company
1 year of service

 

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Why did you become a volunteer?

I admire and respect firefighters and wanted to help where I could. My husband is currently a firefighter with Leesburg Volunteer Fire Company.

What is your favorite thing about being a volunteer?

Gratification from seeing an applicant complete the process of becoming a fully trained firefighter.

What is your day job?

I am a substitute teacher with Loudoun County Public Schools, a PTA/PTSO Board Member for two schools.

What is your most memorable experience as a volunteer?

Watching my very first applicant complete red hat training, be assigned to his duty crew, and be thriving!

What advice do you have for future members?

Be patient and keep your eye on your goal. Anything is possible if you put your mind to it!