My name is Dewey Johnston, I am originally from Peck, Michigan but moved to Brown City, Michigan in 1999. I am married with 4 wonderful girls, my step daughter Ashleigh Blovsky 19, my oldest Taylor who lives with her mom in Colorado she is 15 and the two youngest Lexi who is 10 and Rylee who is 5 who both go to Brown City Schools. I have been fortunate enough to have been promoted a few times over my almost 11 year career from fire fighter to Lieutenant then Captain and now I am currently the Assistant Chief of our department. My full time job is as a Materials Manager at Llink Technologies in Brown City a factory that produces sunvisors and other assorted interior trim parts for the auto and heavy truck industries.
1. Did your background have any bearing on your chosen profession? My love of fire fighting happened later in life my wife's father had been a fire fighter for many years and through him I grew to love the fire service and although he did not push me to join, he was very excited when I asked to become a fire fighter with Brown City Fire Department. It was something that brought us closer together and cemented the bond that we had through what I have came to know as "the brotherhood". Though he passed away a couple years ago his legend lives on at our department.
2. How many years have you been an firefighter? I have been a fire fighter for almost 11 years now, I joined the department in July of 2001 a few months prior to 9/11 which brought the fire service into a whole new focus with the world.
3. What is the most gratifying thing you have ever been through as an firefighter? The most gratifying thing is getting thank you cards from people you have helped or on scenes when you can help ease the pain of someone who's whole world has come crashing down around them and to be able to go back into a fire and bring out some momento that they though lost forever or to look into someone's eyes at a car crash and tell them they will be ok as you are trying to cut the car out from around them. Only to find out later that the person came out of it ok and is back to their normal life and all potentially because of what you did to help them.
4. Describe a memorable experience that you have had on the job? The most memorable thing would be when we were awarded the piece of the World Trade Center and we traveled to New York City to pick it up. When we got home the outpouring of love and American pride that we felt was very overwhelming. To have a police escort through 4 states and to basically have a parade route from Flint to Brown City was extremely gratifying that all our hard work to secure this artifact and bring it home was well worth it!
5. What would be your advice to any up and coming firefighters? Listen to the veterans that are on the department, keep quiet and when you think you know it all you need to quit because you never know it all and always strive for more knowledge that you can put in your "tool box" to use later on a scene or incident.
6. What would you have done if you hadn't of became a firefighter? I really dont know, fire fighting is such a big part of my life now I really cant imagine my life without it. I would not have made the great friends that I have made that will last a life time.
7. What do you like most about your job? Least? The best part of my job still is "the adrenline hammer" when you get woke up in the middle of the night and you scurry to get your cloths on and get in the car to get to the fire hall, the drive seems to take forever and you hear dispatch say "the building is fully engulfed and we are not sure if there are people inside" it feels like someone is squeezing the life out of your neck as you try to control all the new found energy you have and calm yourself down because the most prepared fire fighter is the calmest. The least favorite part of the job is dealing with people's attitudes and lack of work ethic and the politics and drama that can arise.
8. What is a typical day like? As a paid on call volunteer its really hit or miss and mostly miss. We could go 2 weeks without any run at all and then we could be going non-stop. We are always ready though and no matter what is going on, when the tones hit we will be on our way.
9. Is there anything that I haven't asked you, that you would like to add? I feel that alot more fire fighters should be aware that they are a reflection of their departments and how important it is to represent the department in a postitive way. If you treat people unkindly at scenes and in the public that reflects poorly on the department and those same people you may need for fund raisers in the future to help with future needs.
10. What is your favorite dinner & what do you like to drink with it? Favorite dinner would have to be steak and potatoes with a nice cold beer. Nothing better!
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