Vallonia native sworn in as Seymour firefighter


In the middle of his fire science studies, Cameron Shoemaker knew firefighting was the career for him.

After graduating from Brownstown Central High School in 2016, he went to Purdue University to study ag business. But after a year, he realized that wasn’t for him.

“I was talking to friends and family trying to decide what I wanted to do with my life,” he said. “I have a lot of friends that are on the fire department, and I talked to them, and I think I really wanted to do that.”

In 2018, he started working toward an associate degree in fire science from Ivy Tech Community College in Indianapolis. He finished that up this past spring.

It was a long application process with different types of testing, but Shoemaker made it through and was hired by the Seymour Fire Department on his first try.

He was offered a job in April, and after getting state certified and doing sight testing, he was ready to take his oath.

On Tuesday, he was sworn in by Mayor Craig Luedeman during a Seymour Board of Public Works and Safety meeting. His mother, Denise Shoemaker, held the Bible, and his father, Bruce Shoemaker, was there, too.

“It felt good to have my family here supporting me,” the 22-year-old said. “It feels very nice after all of the hard work and sacrifice I’ve done. It’s a weight lifted off my shoulders, it feels like.”

Shoemaker was joined by Mitchell Flinn in being sworn in Tuesday morning. They replace Jeff Montgomery, who retired after 35½ years with the department, and Joe Bullard, who will retire later this month with 26 years of service.

Fire Chief Brad Lucas said the two hirings put the department at 40 firefighters. Those are effective Jan. 19.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Lucas also announced the promotions of Anthony Walker as battalion chief, Cory Acton as captain, Marty Overshiner as lieutenant, Kaleb McKinney as sergeant and Mark Gillaspy as inspector.

The hirings and promotions were unanimously approved.

Once Shoemaker figured out what he wanted to do as a career, he said he looked forward to being able to give back to the community and helping others in their time of need.

Going from studying agriculture to fire science wasn’t much of a change for him.

“It was a little different, but it’s about the same as farming,” he said. “It’s hands-on, you learn as you go and that’s what really made it an easy transition for me.”

In the application process, Shoemaker had to take a physical test and a written test and be interviewed.

“It was nerve-racking,” he said, smiling. “The physical part, I had no problem with, and the written test and the interviews, I felt pretty confident in. I thought I did pretty good in those.”

He said he chose to apply for the Seymour Fire Department because it’s close to his hometown of Vallonia and he knows other firefighters who work there.

“Joe Bullard, he explained to me a lot of how things go on, and some other guys who have retired have explained how things go on, what you’re supposed to do and some advice,” Shoemaker said. “I’m excited to start working, get in there and start learning everything and get started.”

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Name: Cameron Shoemaker

Age: 22

Hometown: Vallonia

Residence: Vallonia

Education: Brownstown Central High School (2016); Ivy Tech Community College (associate degree in fire science, 2019)

Occupation: Recently hired as a firefighter for the Seymour Fire Department

Family: Parents, Bruce and Denise Shoemaker; brother, Matthew (Ashley) Shoemaker; sister, Kate Shoemaker


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