BELLAIRE, OHIO (WTRF)- Bellaire’s senior football player, TJ Bell is not your ordinary student. For the past 3 years, TJ has volunteered at the Bellaire Fire Department and the Spirit of 76 in Key Ridge, following in the footsteps of his father and firefighter Tim Bell.

“It’s really my dad he really got me into it, we was up on Spirit 66 and after he got up there for awhile, I was up there until about 8 years old, and we started getting involved with Bellaire once it became a volunteer fire department.”

And for TJ, his compassion stems from his mother. “My mom, she is a really caring person. She cares about everything, animals to humans to cars, It’s just everything, she cares about everything.” And as for the town of Bellaire. “What inspires me in the community is that most of my family lives in Bellaire and I grew up around here. I go to school here so I feel proud to serve in the fire department and I also do ride-alongs with the police department too.”

On the football field, TJ has stood out and made a difference.

“I think he has a passion at his age that is tough for kids to have and he already knows he wants to be a fireman and I think he’ll be a great one because he has that passion to do stuff like that,” says Mark Spigarelli, Bellaire’s head football coach.

And off the field, TJ says life experiences have helped shaped his character.
“It’s sad sometimes. I’ve seen a few people die who I was close to, even not being on the fire department and I’ve seen a few people die in my family and it’s really like an easy thing to go by but the fire department is really like family to talk to and it’s really nice to have this family.”
One particular fire has left an impact on TJ’s life.

“Well up on the Trumble street fire, we had a chimney collapse and came on the road and I was hitting the hydrant back on the trunk and I swear I saw my dad get crushed and it was really heartdropping and it got your adrenaline going just 10 times more and you’d be surprised how fast someone can move in that gear. It’s insane.”

TJ will be taking his fire test in October to become officially certified.
For Bordas and Bordas beyond the field, I’m Caroline Peters, working for you.