LaBelle Fire Rescue announces return of Explorers Program

(Caloosa Belle/Danika J. Hopper) Future Explorers line up for a group photo after learning all about the program during the Open House event at the LaBelle Fire Department.

The LaBelle Fire Department held an Open House for their Explorer Program the evening of October 1. The room was filled with eager high school and college students, as Captain Scott Russell and Tina Pegler explained both the benefits and requirements, as well as introduced some of the program’s advisors. The program places emphasis on gaining leadership experience, learning important life skills, building citizenship and character, while also meeting the state education standards. It will allow participants to explore a career in fire rescue and prepare them to go on to become full-fledged firefighters, Pegler, Director of Learning for Life SW Florida, went on to explain how unbelievably special this opportunity can be for everyone. She then asked a few of the interested students why they wanted to join.

“My father is a firefighter,” one young man said.

“My grandfather was a firefighter,” said another student.

“I want to help people and save lives!” another proudly exclaimed.

A somewhat relaxed atmosphere, that will require dedication and hard work, while striving to make each participant successful, was the theme throughout Captain Russell’s presentation. He showed some photos of fire scenes he had recently been on, described the new fire training center, and answered questions from the future Explorers. Participants will experience firsthand what it’s all about by going on ride-alongs during actual fire calls, volunteering at the station, and participating in various trainings taught by the advisors. Each advisor having different strengths, areas of expertise, and experiences to share. Captain Russell also mentioned that the Explorers would need to participate in fundraising events such as car washes, spaghetti dinners, etc. for uniforms and gear. He also explained that there will be a minimum GPA requirement for those who want to go on ride-alongs and Explorers interested in becoming officers in the program should be ready to write an essay detailing why they should be appointed as such.

Anyone ages 14 to 21 years of age, with an interest in exploring a career in Fire Rescue is welcome to attend their meetings, ask questions, and join the Explorer Program. If you know someone that would like to join can contact Captain Scott Russell 863-234-1118 with any questions or for an application, or plan to attend the next Explorer meeting at the LaBelle Fire Station on October 28, at 6 p.m.

Danika can be reached at dhopper@newszap.com

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