Lessons from the Geneva Fire Department – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Lessons from the Geneva Fire Department

Since joining Geneva Fire Department’s Nester Hose Company as a volunteer in 2018, Patrick Gray ’19 has discovered what his “many amazing and diverse experiences” at HWS reveal about the challenges and rigor of firefighting.

“One of the biggest lessons I have learned throughout my time at Hobart has been how to perform under pressure,” says Gray, who majored in education and minored in studio art.

A three-year member of the Statesmen tennis team, Gray says he learned the value of a support system, while his time studying abroad in Wales during the outdoor adventure education program taught him how to move outside his comfort zone and find success. Gray, also a member of Sigma Chi fraternity, notes the importance of building relationships that last — which is part of what drew him to Nester Hose Company.

He first connected with the Geneva Fire Department though Mike John, a firefighter with the Nester Company.

“Mike was kind enough to take me under his wing and show me the ropes,” says Gray. “Mike is also a huge reason why my experience with the Geneva Fire Department has been so amazing. He is the type of person that everybody knows and enjoys being around, and I am very grateful that I had the chance to learn from him.”

Gray’s time with the Geneva Fire Department has instilled in him a desire to pursue a career in emergency services. In the near term, he is considering teaching adventure education or taking on structural firefighting, but his ultimate dream is to be a smoke jumper — a wildland firefighter who engages fires on the front lines in mountainous areas.

Over the past four years, he says, “Hobart has prepared me with the skills needed to find success in situations where everything goes as planned. It also given me the confidence to achieve success when everything goes wrong. As I look back on my four years it is these situations that I have grown the most from. We live in a non-perfect world and when times get tough, you must know the kind of person you are and embrace the challenges that lie ahead.”

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