Firefighter Josh PopanzRecruit Class 8 is now serving at a fire station near you! Get to know Madison's newest firefighters.

Where are you stationed?
I’m at Station 9 (Midvale Blvd.) on the ‘A’ shift.

Why did you want to pursue this career?
My grandpa and my dad were both volunteer firefighters with almost fifty years’ experience combined. Right out of school, I lost my sister the day after I graduated high school, and I wound up not wanting to go to college. My dad encouraged me to pursue fulltime firefighting, and I thought about giving that a try. I went to MATC and fell in love with it, and I just didn’t want to do anything else!

Why did you want to work for the Madison Fire Department?
I’ve always tried to get into the Madison Fire Department, and I was good friends with Rick Garner. With him passing away last year and seeing what MFD did for him and his family, it was unbelievable. I wanted to work here even more. Now I’m here on the department and it’s even better than I thought it would be.

What has been the most rewarding part of your experience so far?
The way kids look at you. They look at you like a hero, and the energy I get from that makes me want to do better and do more for the community, for your family, to be a better husband, a better friend. It’s funny how kids’ll do that.

Looking back at the Fire Academy, what was the most challenging part?
There were a lot of challenging parts. I would say the length of it and how you had to keep mentally strong through all of it—keeping positive and having a good work ethic, showing up early. Just to stay strong even though it can wear you down mentally.

Since graduating the Academy, what are among the most memorable experiences you've had?
The camaraderie I’ve already gained with my crew. The way they took me in. I love coming to work every day, and they make me feel like family. That’s big to me. I really enjoy that.

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Category: Station 9, General