PHOTO STORY BY SHERI TRUSTY
Visiting with the men and women on the streets where they serve the communities, there are many outstanding reasons why they are eager to do their jobs. Here are some of their reasons that they are dedicated first responders.
Brenden Jess, Port Fire District Volunteer Firefighter
Jess is one of the volunteers whose commitment and bravery make Oak Harbor a safer place to live. Although he doesn’t want to make firefighting a full time job, he is happy to give up much of his free time to the department and to the community. He has been a volunteer firefighter for almost one-and-a-half years.
“I’ve always had a passion for firefighting,” Jess said. “My dad was a firefighter, so that helped push me into doing it. Plus, I’m big on giving back and helping people out.”
Eric Parker, Oak Harbor Police Chief
Parker, who has been with the department for 24 years and has served as police chief for the last four, said law enforcement gives him the opportunity to serve the community, become better acquainted with the residents, and help make the village a better place to live.
“I grew up here, and I wanted to give back,” Parker said. “Serving in Oak Harbor is unique because the village really has that hometown feel. We know our neighbors here. Being able to have direct contact with the public makes a difference.”
Brian Mullins, Port Clinton Fire & Rescue Paramedic
Being a paramedic in a tourist town creates a fluctuating work year for Mullins. The EMS workload greatly increases in the summer months, when thousands of people visit Port Clinton or pass through on the way to the islands.
When the population swells, emergency calls surge as well. Regardless of the time of year, Mullins has been working his dream job in EMS for 23 years.
“I’ve always been interested in EMS. I love what I do,” he said. “I like helping people. That’s why we all do it.”
J.R. Cipiti, School Resource Officer, Bataan Memorial Primary and Bataan Memorial Intermediate Schools
Cipiti joined the police force 20 years ago and has been a School Resource Officer for six years. The safety of the students rests on Cipiti, so he is diligent about ensuring the building is secure at all times. Although his job carries much weight, it also brings moments of joy when talks with students as they walk the halls or wait for the bus. Some days, Cipiti can be found reading books to kindergarteners.
“I became an School Resource Officer because I wanted to do something different, and I’m glad I did because I like it a lot,” Cipiti said. “I like the interaction with all the kids.”
Jodie Brown, Port Clinton Fire & Rescue EMT Advanced
Serving as a paramedic gives Brown the opportunity to work in the medical field without being stuck in an office every day. Through her job, she has the opportunity to connect with the public and continually gain new skills.
“I like the medical field, I like helping people, and I like learning new things,” said Brown, who has worked as a First Responder for 24 years. “Each department has its own group of good people, but our guys are really great. I like the people I work with.”