Four new firefighters are serving southern Lorain County as members of the Wellington fire district.
Logan Spence, Silas Bowman, Ricky Souda, and Cory Grooves were hired in September pending their successful completion of the pre-employment process.
Each had to pass a physical agility test, medical physicals, a drug screening, and 150 hours of schooling, according to fire chief Mike Wetherbee.
The four men took the seven-minute agility test at the end of September and each passed without problem. The last step is for each to complete their 150 classroom hours by Dec. 22.
Wetherbee said the process is fairly stringent but has paid off in the past.
“Our last dozen hires have done very, very well,” Wetherbee said. “We are more than pleased with the performance of the last people we hired.”
With the addition of the four new men, Wellington has 32 firefighters on its roster.
Wetherbee said the district wasn’t short-handed but a few people are close to retiring.
“We’re trying to be proactive and make sure we’re not losing people faster than we’re gaining people,” he said. “We’ve always prided ourselves on the length of service.”
Three firefighters retired last year, taking with them a combined 80 years of service.
Even with the newer volunteers on the roster, the average years of service still works out to more than 14 per person.
The Wellington fire district is considered a combination department, meaning two people are full-time employees and the rest are paid per call.
Wetherbee said serving is a part-time job for most people.
Spence, for instance, is a part-time employee at Forest City Technologies and is studying criminal justice at Lorain County Community College.
Bowman, on the other hand, pulls oversized loads for a company in Elyria. He said the ability to juggle work, school, and other responsibilities is what separates the real firefighters from those who are still living the childhood dream.
Spence said he doesn’t even think about his hectic schedule.
“I just don’t like having an ordinary job where I do the same things over and over again,” he said. “This is exciting and I like to help people.”
Bowman said he’s always wanted to be a firefighter.
“The main thing is I like to help,” he said. “I enjoy where I live, my community, and being a fireman just adds to it.”
Kelsey Leyva can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @TWE_KelseyLeyva on Twitter.
Photo by Kelsey Leyva | Wellington Enterprise
Logan Spence and Silas Bowman are both proud to serve southern Lorain County as firefighters with Wellington’s fire district.