THE RIGHT PLACE
“Being on the St. Paul Fire Department is the pinnacle,” says Shawn Stroebl in expressing his excitement at being a firefighter in St. Paul, Minnesota. He was a student in HTC’s Fire Science Technology program when he received an offer of employment from the SPFD in March 2012. Admitting that it’s highly competitive and the requirements are rigorous, Stroebl believes his training at HTC helped him reach his goal.
“When I was a kid, I always said I wanted to be a Marine or a firefighter,” says Stroebl. “As it turned out, I was a Marine first, and now I’m a firefighter.” In 2002, he completed four years of service in the U.S. Marine Corps. Then he worked at Sara Lee for a couple of years, worked in the printing industry for five years and then was laid off from his job. That’s when he decided to follow his dream of being a firefighter.
“I looked online and saw what it takes to become a firefighter, and what programs were available,” explains Stroebl. “I decided HTC was the right place.” He liked what HTC had to offer, including the Veterans Resource Center, where he worked while he was a student.
“The social aspect was great,” says Stroebl. “I got to hang out with other veterans, so a lot of us had common experiences.” The college’s flexible schedule was also an advantage that Stroebl appreciated. He admits that becoming a professional firefighter took perseverance
“So many people told me that I would never get hired as a full-time firefighter, but I kept on going,” says Stroebl, who had been a volunteer firefighter in Brooklyn Center. He interviewed three times with the SPFD, and each time he was told to take more classes. Stroebl believes that his education really helped him land the job. In St. Paul, a firefighter must also be an emergency medical technician (EMT) or paramedic, since the fire department provides emergency medical services. Stroebl completed EMT training at HTC. He adds that his HTC instructors gave him good advice which helped during the interview process.
“It’s like a big family,” Stroebl says in describing his experience at his fire station. As a member of the SPFD, Stroebl works 24-hours a day every other day for eight days, followed by six days off. Then he works 24-hours a day every other day for eight days, followed by four days off. Then the schedule repeats. Stroebl says it totals about 110 work days a year.
When he completes his firefighter apprenticeship, Stroebl plans to return to HTC for two or three more classes he needs to complete his degree. That will help prepare him to advance in the fire department.
“I’m fifty times smarter after being at HTC,” Stroebl says in summing up his feelings about the college. “It’s a great place to get started.” Achieving his dream of being a firefighter, Shawn Stroebl is proud to put his skills to work protecting the people of St. Paul.
Last updated by jhanson : 2016-08-01 11:41:23