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Hillsboro High graduate hoping to join firefighters

Staff writer

Recent Hillsboro High School graduate Matt Wintermote is serious about being a firefighter.

“I’ve been going to meetings and trainings for over a year and I really like it,” Wintermote said. “I have family that have been firefighters and it’s always been an interest of mine.”

Wintermote, who turned 18 on June 10, has participated in a junior firefighter program through the high school for the past five months.

In the junior firefighter program, fire chief Ben Steketee said participants get to observe what firefighter training is like, attend meetings, and get to know the firefighters.

“You can train with other firefighters but you really need to get to know them,” Steketee said. “There are life or death situations, so you have to be able to trust that person and know that person that’s in there with you.”

During the program, junior firefighters get to observe more than participate, but they still see what a day in the life of a firefighter is like.

“It’s really a safety issue, but they’re exposed to what we do,” Steketee said. “That helps them to know whether they want to be a fireman or not.”

A person must be 18 years old to participate in firefighter training, which is why Wintermote got a head start by going to emergency medical responder training at 17.

“He’s doing everything he can to steer himself to becoming a fire fighter,” Steketee said.

Steketee said that the department membership committee voted to let Wintermote join. City council was scheduled to make it official Wednesday.

“He is absolutely dedicated and he is relentless in his pursuit of learning,” Steketee said. “He wants to learn.”

Last modified June 22, 2016

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