The time commitment to be a volunteer firefighter can be tough, but for Christophe Cicheroret, an international student at Penn State, he’s always felt the need to volunteer and give back to the State College community. So he did what he could to work around his studies to volunteer at the Alpha Fire Company.
“I have that feeling that it’s important to give back to the community, but when you do so you’re engaging and you’re putting a piece of yourself out there. So it’s important that it’s something that fits you,” Cicheroret said.
As volunteer firefighter numbers continue to decline across the state, looking for ways to gain them back is key. Which is why a graduation was held for the first time to thank the students for their work. A total of 30 students graduated from the entry-level firefighter training at Centre County Public Safety Training Center. Graduation was held at the Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science and Technology after students successfully completed 160-hours of work.
“Recognition goes a long way. There’s not enough thank yous that go around in emergency services and those thank yous mean a lot. Not because of the respect, it’s because of being recognized that they’ve accomplished something,” lead instructor Tim Schreffler said.
For anyone thinking about joining the ranks, Cicheroret has just one piece of advice.
“I would say to the people give it a try and hopefully try to find a way to make it work. There’s always some great people around that are looking to make it work for us. So its really something that they come, they taste, they like, then they’ll be able to find amazing people along the way to make it work,” Cicheroret said.
To attend the training center program, students must be a part of a fire department. To learn more about the training center, CLICK HERE. To learn more about the volunteer fire companies in Centre County and how to join, CLICK HERE.