Three HWS first-year students are giving back to the local community by serving as volunteer firefighters. Ryan Klimkewicz ’20, Connor Shaw ’20 and Nicole Wright ’20 joined the Geneva City Fire Department’s Hydrant Hose Company No. 1 last fall and in the process have gained a deeper sense of belonging to the city and their fellow volunteers.
Klimkewicz first became a volunteer firefighter in his hometown of Clifton Park, N.Y. He says he joined in the footsteps of his grandfather as a way to give back to his community. When he started at HWS last semester, he wanted to find a way to serve his new home community.
Shaw recently found the Geneva City Fire Department through his friendship with Klimkewicz. He is looking forward to forging a relationship with the department and becoming an important part of the team.
Wright, a Geneva native, grew up watching her father, uncle and grandfather work as firefighters. She joined the Geneva Fire Department when she turned 18 and has learned how to help injured people after car accidents, enter a burning building, and she says, most importantly, depend on the other volunteers.
“Most of all I learned the importance of trust,” says Wright. “The men and women who put their time, energy and devotion into this department and job are the people I admire the most and strive to be like.”
In order to be an active volunteer and permitted to enter a burning building, all three students needed to complete a “Firefighter 1” course offered by New York State. In addition, Wright and Klimkewicz are enrolled in an Emergency Medical Services course to learn first-response health services.
The Colleges have a history of student volunteers serving all three fire companies in Geneva, including the Hydrant Hose Company, Folger Hook and Ladder and Nester Hose Company.
Chief of the Fire Department Michael Combs says that young volunteers are important in order to sustain the department’s services.
“Volunteerism is an important part of the success of The Geneva Fire Department and having student volunteers from the Colleges within the City of Geneva shows a great commitment to both the Fire Department and the City of Geneva in the area of public safety,” he says.