(Source: Lincoln News)

HOWLAND – Noah Burr knew what he wanted to be since he was a young boy. His dad, Don, has spent a life in public service and is currently Greenbush’s long-standing fire chief.

At age 11, he joined his dad on the team as a junior firefighter. It was a passion that has driven him all the way through high school. On November 1, a day after he turned 18, he joined the Milford Fire Department.

In the spring, he became a young member of Howland’s growing department. Howland Fire Chief Josh McNally remembers his first interactions with the young recruit. He recalled his excitement, dedication as well as his skills. So talented was the kid from Greenbush, it took McNally awhile to realize Noah was still in high school.

“I asked him why he wanted to work nights only,” Mcnally said with a laugh. “He told me he was still in school.”

Age did not matter to the rest of his team members, who immediately took a liking to Noah.

“Everybody raved about this kid,” Howland Fire Chief Josh McNally said. “Everybody here loved him.”

Last week, a solid work ethic, dedication, and passion opened up a new chapter for Noah, as he got accepted to Fire Science and Paramedic School in New York, where he will be a live-in
student at a big city department.

“If you know what you want to do, go in and do it,” Noah said during a recent interview with fellow firefighter Chris Lord. “Get the skills, get the training, get the certs (certifications) and have the time of your life.”

For Lord, Noah’s success is a testament to the value of not only a junior firefighter program, but to serving on a small town fire department.

“I wanted to show how you can leverage your experience on a small town fire department into a career,” Lord said during a conversation a week after his interview with Burr.

His 17-minute phone interview with the recent graduate before Noah’s trip to New York did that and much more. It revealed a person mature for his years with a firm grasp of what he wanted to do and how to get there, but also exposed an opportunity for both area departments as well as high school students who want to prepare for a future in any profession.

“Junior (firefighter) programs are a huge missed opportunity,” Noah said.” If all departments had a junior program. Juniors do so much for the department and the departments do so much for the juniors.”

Even though people under the age of 18 are limited on what they can do on the scene of an emergency, there is no quantifying the value in the contributions the youngest team members make to their departments.

“His dad told me his guys said they were losing their best pump operator,” McNally said about the day Noah joined his team.  “They said that they were in the hands of God when he was on the pump. He was just a natural. The work ethic this kid has is unbelievable.” “His parents did well raising him.”

The area has several success stories like Noah, too. Last year in Lincoln, Fire Explorer Nick Miller is credited for keeping his head in a critical situation during a barn fire in Winn, potentially saving the life of now-Captain Damien Parent. These are just two success stories out of many, too.

So valuable are these young rescue workers to both Lincoln and Howland, the departments constantly are looking for new members to fill their ranks, even if firefighting is not the end
destination but simply a starting point of a beginning career.

Take Noah’s advice.
“Even if you are on the fence about it, go out and do it.”

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