|All in the family posted on 05/07/2018|
Franks first became a volunteer firefighter with the Hoodland Fire District (HFD), his
son Jonathan kept a keen eye on his father. Kevin would get a call on his pager
and head out, while Jonathan ran to the iPad to follow along with the call on an
Franks, who was inspired to become a firefighter after seeing how helpful the
firefighters were when responding to calls regarding his ailing father, has won
the HFD’s Firefighter of the Year Award, Above and Beyond Award and a top
responder since he completed the volunteer academy in 2013.
the younger Franks, who was inspired by his father’s entry into firefighting, has
followed in his footsteps, as part of HFD’s 2018 academy. “I wish that I had
the focus that he does,” Kevin said.
don’t know what I want to do when I grow up,” he added as a joke. Jonathan
started his journey to become a firefighter in the district’s Explorers
Program, and by helping his dad clean the Brightwood station, participating in
joint training exercises between the volunteers and the explorers, working on “burn
to learn” events and when Jonathan could go on certain calls as an observer, including
with his dad.
really awesome to see him working, and I get to learn a lot from him,” said Jonathan,
17. Jonathan will also graduate from Sandy High School this summer and then
join the Jefferson
County fire student program.
Explorer Program is open to young people from sixth grade through high school, offering
an entry point for those interested in firefighting. HFD Battalion Chief Linn Norgard
serves as the Explorers Guide and noted that while the program limits some of
what the students can do, they get to learn most of what firefighters learn,
with a focus on support. “I’ve lost count how many of our explorers have gone
on to be firefighters,” Norgard said,
adding that two current members of the paid staff, Evan Jarvis and Tyler Myers, started in
the Explorers Program.
noted that Jonathan stood out due to “his willingness to do just about anything.”
added that the shift from Explorers to the volunteer training academy means
more heavy lifting, using more tools and expanding the range of skills. “It’s
been a pretty big leap,” he said.
noted that aspects of the volunteer academy has changed even in the few years since
he was a part of it, with new and better techniques for things like advancing hoses
and forcing entry into a building.
department has really embraced that,” he said, adding that those recruits who
were also part of the Explorers Program had a “leg up.”
Kevin’s wife, Krista, also contributes to the district as a member of the
support group. “I think once you get involved, it’s a family thing,” Kevin
said. “No matter how much you
put into this, you always get much more out of it. It’s our community, it’s our neighborhood.”