Firefighting is all in the family

Posted: Friday, October 26, 2001

Dave and Justin Boddy are more than father and son. They are about to be brothers in the Capital City Fire and Rescue family.

Like his father, former Capital City Fire and Rescue Fire Chief Doug Boddy, Capt. Dave Boddy is a firefighter. He said when he was younger the firehouse was like an extension of his own house. Boddy's father didn't talk much about his work and didn't like to bring work home with him. But Dave Boddy said he absorbed the excitement and fulfillment of firefighting from watching his father work.

There's something about a fire station that's conducive to families, Dave Boddy said. He still remembers running around the firehouse as a kid with other firefighting families.

"You all just become so much a part of each other's lives," he said. "And it's really easy to let it become your whole life."

For Dave Boddy this entailed bringing work home and bringing home to work.

But he said at first it took a while to realize he wanted to be a firefighter.

"I think there's a sense of rejecting it at first because you've been around it all your life," he said. "I didn't really have any interest in it until I got older."

Boddy's calling didn't go unheeded for long. He said by his 20s he was tired of the work he was doing.

"I was doing construction and I so joined the department just as a volunteer. I guess I felt something lacking in my life at the time and this seemed to fill it," he said. "The excitement of it - that's why I do it. It's an adrenaline rush. ... It's just so different every day and that's what keeps it fun and interesting. You just never know what's going to happen."

But Boddy's son Justin always knew what would happen. He'd see his future when he rode on the fire truck next to his dad on the way to fires at age 7. He'd dream of it when he and his dad would sleep over at the firehouse while his dad was on duty.

"I'd just watch him at a fire and think, 'I want to do that.' ... It's just something I grew up with," Justin Boddy said. "It's such a rush, there's nothing like it."

"He never asked us, he just said, 'This is what I'm going to do' and did it," Dave Boddy said of Justin. "It wasn't surprise though, just real proud."

With the same adrenaline rushing through his family blood lines, Justin Boddy signed up to train to be a volunteer firefighter cadet the day after his 16th birthday. A person must be at least 16 to be eligible for the training program.

For two years, Justin Boddy said, he learned everything he could about firefighting, but admits he may have been a bit overzealous.

"There were times when I was maybe too anxious and excited about it and probably pushed more than I should have to do more than I was ready for," he said. "But I just can't wait."

Next week Justin Boddy will fulfill one of the last requirements for his training: He will turn 18. He then will be able to be a full-fledged volunteer without the cadet designation, he said.

"It's all he's been talking about," Dave Boddy said. "But he's earned it and we're real excited for him."

Dave Boddy said though he knows his son is preparing for a dangerous occupation, he trusts the department enough to give it his son.

"Once you are in a fire or in a stress situation you fall back on your training and that's all you think about," Dave Boddy said. "Well, I know what kind of training he's had and I trust he's learned what he needs to know and that the department taught him well."

Melanie Plenda can be reached at mplenda@juneauempire.com.



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