Honor the Badge: Fire Explorer Program Teaches More Than Fighting Fires

Honor the Badge

In Jefferson County there’s a group of high school students answering the call of duty. The Fire Explorer Program at the Short Creek Joint Fire District is teaching four boys more than just fighting fires.

Everyday, right after school, Nathan Thompson heads straight to the Adena Fire Company. He starts by checking the gear, and then prepares to work.

“I was raised to help people or try my best to help people,” said 16-year-old Fire Explorer Nathan Thompson.

Not far behind are three other boys Nathan calls brothers: Ethan, Corey, and Brandon.

“There’s not many people willing to help. We have a limited amount of guys down here and even at my age what I can do can helps out,” said 15-year-old Fire Explorer Ethan Toto.

As part of the fire explorer program with the Boy Scouts of America these young men are getting real-world career training. Confident in fire rescue, rope rescue, water rescue, trench rescue, and EMS calls, and much more, they’ve already helped to save lives.

“Nowhere else around here you really get to do as much as we do,” said Toto.

Captain Trevor Sebring works with the boys everyday, taking them through two of the three levels of Ohio firefighter courses.

“They put the lives of other people before themselves. That’s the whole purpose of being here. They’ve given up a lot from their adolescence and their teenage years to be fire explorers and they’ve dedicated a lot to their communities,” said Captain Trevor Sebring.

The fire house is now a second home, while practicing life skills like cooking, cleaning, working as a team, and of course laughing, the four strangers have become brothers.

“I’ve taken them under my wing, I’ll do whatever I got to do to steer them in the right path so they can find success,” said Sebring.

At 18, all four plan to become certified firemen.

“I find it to be somewhat of like an honor to be able to serve the community and some of the surrounding communities,” said Thompson.

But in the meantime, everyday they’ll trade in their backpacks for boots to keep your family safe.

“I have family that live in this area and my closest friends and I know that when they call for help if something ever happens my boys are coming to take care of them and they’re in good hands,” said Sebring.

If you are interested in the Short Creek Joint Fire District Explorer Program, your teenager must by age 14-21. You can stop by the fire house at 270 E. Main Street in Adena, or call 740-546-4113.

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