Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Firemen Recruits Feel Heat ; Four Being Trained in the Worst Type of Weather

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Firemen Recruits Feel Heat ; Four Being Trained in the Worst Type of Weather

Article excerpt

For the next six weeks, the four newest members of the Evansville Fire Department will be tasked with learning as much as they can before they're assigned to a fire house. One of the two men given the job of teaching that knowledge describes the quartet as his "children," even though they range in age from 24 to 35 years old.

"We try to have fun at the same time, but it's serious business," said Rick Whitehouse, who has been an instructor with the department for more than a decade. "We want to make sure they get all the knowledge they possibly can get from us."

The four share some traits. All four are certified EMTs, meaning they won't have to go through four additional weeks of training for that, and they all moved to Evansville from Central Indiana to take the job. But they also took different paths to where they are now - the cusp of joining the ranks of Evansville firefighters.

The youngest member of the group, Derrick Fullen, said he's wanted to be a firefighter since he was a young teen, while the oldest, James Cohen II, spent 10 years working as a banker. Though he said he had a good career, Cohen said he wanted to do something more community-oriented, a feeling he said was sparked by his experience working as a volunteer with disadvantaged children.

"I started looking at different jobs, and I found that firefighting was the one that most fit my personality because of the teamwork, because of the physical fitness and the camaraderie," he said

Though he was still working at a bank when he was accepted here, Cohen got his EMT certification just in case he was shut out of his desired choice, a fear that was almost realized - the cutoff to be accepted as new firefighter eligible for the state pension fund is an applicant's 36th birthday.

A third member of the class is already a firefighter. …

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