Seymour’s newest firefighter doesn’t have much experience when it comes to fighting fires, but he’s willing to learn and more importantly — serve his community.
“There were numerous aspects of the job that led me to pursue a career in firefighting,” Zachery Stephens said. “As a career firefighter you have the opportunity to respond to a wide variety of 911 calls.”
“Anything from animal rescues, medical calls, car accidents and of course fires. But what stood out to me the most is that it reminded me of being on a team, and that team gets to work together to assist the community.”
While firefighting wasn’t something the 29-year-old Columbus man considered doing when he was growing up in Seymour, his past work as both a basic and emergency medical technician led him in the direction of a career in firefighting.
“Once I started my career in emergency medical services it became clear that a career with the fire department was a real possibility,” the Seymour native said.
Although he doesn’t have background in firefighting, Stephens said he is excited to learn as much as he can to become the best firefighter possible.
He said he has multiple friends at the Seymour Fire Department and a distant relative works in California as a firefighter/paramedic.
“He is actually fighting some of the wildland fires out in California,” Stephens said.
He said the process of successfully landing a job with the fire department was very difficult and competitive.
“You have a lot of great people trying out and you have to do your absolute best to get a spot,” Stephens said. “You have to be physically and mentally ready when you enter a process to become a firefighter.”
It really helps that his family supports him 100%, he said.
“My wife (Sarah) has been a huge supporter of mine, and I couldn’t do it without her support,” Stephens said. “My son is excited too. Layton often tells me “Daddy works on the fire truck.”
He said serving as a firefighter gives him the opportunity to serve the community where he grew up.
“Being a firefighter is exciting, and it gives me a sense of purpose,” Stephens said.
He said Sarah and Layton joined him when he recently was sworn in after a board of public works and safety meeting. He also was joined by his mother, father, grandmother, mother-in-law and father-in-law that morning.
“I also had my close friend and biggest influencer Nate (Bryant, director of Jackson County Emergency Medical Services) there to witness it,” he said. “He helped me a lot and is a big reason why I became an EMT and paramedic.”
“I am excited to serve the community, and I will come to work with a positive attitude. I will help however I can to help save lives and save property.”
Fire Chief Brad Lucas said Stephens’ emergency medical service experience will be very helpful to the department.
“We’re looking forward to getting him trained on the firefighting side of it,” he said. “He has already been to a garage fire.”
With the addition of Stephens, who started to work Aug. 29, the department now has 42 firefighters.
“Because of a retirement, we will be looking for another one later this year,” Lucas said. “We’ve had a lot of retirements the past three or four years.”