The story below is Part 3 of 3 in a series by John Hunt titled "Our Good Fortune: Three Profiles of Our First Responders"
Marco, DEL ‘07
I have been working with Vaughan Fire and Rescue Services (VFRS) for the last year. We are a very young department and most of our employees are highly educated. Many of the firefighters, including myself, have a master’s degree with the majority completing an
undergraduate degree. The fire service requires a person to be self-motivated, be an exceptional team player, and fully committed to continuous education.
Del is a very demanding institution requiring exceptional time management, self-motivation, and sacrifice in order to succeed. The increased workload and more advanced level of education combined with my heavy involvement in hockey required me to develop exceptional
time management skills, dedicating the necessary time to each task for success. I can recall numerous late nights doing my homework and studying in coffee shops, restaurants, on the subway and many times at the arena before practice or games. Furthermore, my involvement
with the U14, U16, and Varsity hockey team as a goaltender further developed my teamwork
ability. It allowed me to become a more well-rounded individual, integrating into a team of different personalities, helping me to understand the importance that goal cohesiveness
plays in successful teams. This combination of dedication, hard work, and being a team
player benefited my hockey career and my professional career. I was able to apply these
experiences and sign in the OHL with the Mississauga St. Michaels Majors and also play
3 years of Junior A. When my hockey career finished, I continued teaching goaltenders
and was able to develop a successful business, developing goaltenders who have gone on
to play Junior A, OHL, NCAA, and some who have been drafted or invited to NHL team camps.
My journey towards firefighting began during my first week of my master’s while doing fitness testing for prospective firefighters. This experience inspired me towards this career that
offered a variety of unique challenges, working as a part of a team, giving back to the community, and working in a continuously changing and developing environment. Following my master’s, I enrolled into a Firefighter Training program, took numerous additional training
courses in specialty rescue, and volunteered at Sunnybrook and Mackenzie Health Hospitals in Stroke and Cardiac Rehabilitation and as a Firefighter at Mosport Motorsport Park. The process of being hired as a full-time firefighter is very challenging and competitive as 90% of fire departments in Ontario are volunteer. It is common to have thousands of applicants applying to a municipality for only a dozen jobs. There are a variety of challenges we face daily, from fires, car accidents, technical rescues, and life-threatening medical problems,
therefore, daily education and practical training has become essential in order for us to be successful to protect life, property, and the environment. Modern technology has made our job significantly more hazardous and dangerous. Modern construction and refined manufacturing processes have made fires in homes burn hotter, with a higher probability of collapse, and a more untenable environment for occupants and responding firefighters. Furthermore, with the rise of townhouse and condominium construction, additional challenges are added to reducing fire spread and getting occupants in adjoining homes to safety. Therefore, the firefighter job responsibilities have broadened to performing public education and home inspections ensuring working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are functioning and are still within their expiration date.
The firefighter profession is a very rewarding, fast-paced, and continually changing which requires a combination of teamwork, critical thinking, hands-on knowledge, and a devotion
to continuous learning. My experience at De La Salle challenged me and gave me the confidence and tools to succeed in the future. Being immersed in an atmosphere where one was expected to exceed the high expectations of the teachers and juggle a very busy educational and extra-curricular schedule requires exceptional time management skills, teamwork, motivation, and sacrifice. I hope to see more Del graduates look towards careers in Emergency Services. It is a very rewarding, fastpaced, and exciting profession that
challenges ones intellect and body and requires ones dedication towards life long learning.
Some additional musings must be added by us here because our heroes would not include them on their own. Why not? Humility. For instance, our hockey coaches maintain that Marco
was the best goalie to ever play in Del’s nets. Marco himself remained silent. And a reluctant Antoine eventually revealed to us a ‘surprise’ play in football our team used twice in championship games. It went like this; ‘The catch was a trick play- the quarterback took
the snap and pitched it to me running behind him in a sweeping motion. Joe Surret, lined up as a blocker on the same side as myself, instead of blocking released upfield and I threw him
the ball successfully. Basically it was a fake sweep- it was used to take the lead in both championships.’
And Brandon, after years of a sparkling career in the Del Cadet Corps also served his country for five years in the Royal Regiment of Canada. All three, as in so many of our profiles did volunteer work helping others. They did ‘Leave to Serve’ and they still keep that focus in their front line efforts. They embody the school’s values, using them ‘to shape a brighter future.’ We must rejoice in such grads because ‘so few are doing so much for so many’ in our quest to maintain the norms of a civilized society.
- Alumni Profiles