| October, 2020 Student Highlight
Duncan McFadden - Kenmore, Washington
Dean: How old are you Duncan and where do you live?
Duncan: I am 24 years old, and live in Kenmore, Washington.
Dean: Why do you want to be a firefighter and what draws you to the fire service?
Duncan: From a young age, I knew I wanted a job where I could work with my hands to solve complex problems. I joined the Boy Scouts when I was in 5th grade, and was able to participate in community service projects that allowed me to do exactly that, while serving my community at the same time. By the time I earned the rank of Eagle Scout in my sophomore year of high school, I had grown to love the rewarding feeling you get from serving others and your community as a whole.
While attending college in Wisconsin, one of my friends was looking for ways to utilize his EMT license while attending classes and invited me to do a ride-along with him at one of the local fire departments. We spent a 12 hour overnight shift running medical calls with the South Beloit Fire Department, and watched as the firefighters worked as a team to come up with systematic solutions to each problem. By the end of the shift, I was confident that this was the career I wanted. I worked at the South Beloit Fire Department as a paid-on-call firefighter while I completed my degree, which only grew my love and appreciation for this kind of work.
Dean: What is your biggest accomplishment up to this point in your life?
Duncan: My greatest accomplishment so far has been obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout. This is primarily due to the fact that it took me years to achieve, since I joined the Boy Scouts when I was in 5th grade and became an Eagle Scout in my sophomore year of high school. A wide variety of work was involved in this accomplishment, including earning various merit badges, holding different leadership roles within the troop, and a lot of service hours, including my Eagle Scout Project. For my project, I performed essentially a playground safety overhaul at one of the local schools in Seattle, where we replaced the old wood chips with new ones, planted new bushes, and improved the landscaping utilizing the old playground chips as mulch, which eliminated the waste created by the project. In addition, we built brand new picnic tables for the kids to use during recess. Now, whenever I drive by that school, I still see the picnic tables there and all the landscaping work we did, which reminds me of all the work that went into earning the Eagle Scout rank.
What truly makes this accomplishment special for me is the fact that I can't simply claim this as my own achievement. My entire troop showed up and put in hard work at my project, as well as family and friends outside of the Boy Scouts. Without their help I would not have been able to complete the project successfully or earn the Eagle Scout rank, so I see this achievement as not only a big accomplishment for me but also an accomplishment for my troop and everyone else who contributed to the successful completion of the project.
Dean: What are some hobbies and interests you enjoy?
Duncan: When I'm not working, I spend a lot of time outside hiking, backpacking, biking, and running. During the winter season I do a lot of skiing, both downhill and cross-country. I have also been playing guitar for about 12 years, and I enjoy playing music with my friends as well as songwriting.
Dean: What kinds of volunteer/community service do you enjoy participating in?
Duncan: Through the Boy Scouts, I completed a wide variety of service projects including trail maintenance, landscaping for local organizations, working with food banks, and various cleanups around the city of Seattle throughout middle school and high school. Outside of that, I participated annually in the Bike MS ride in Washington, which raises money for multiple sclerosis research, and I am currently a recruit to be a volunteer firefighter with a department in Snohomish County, Washington.
Check back each month as we highlight more students from the Firefighter Oral Interview Academy.