Oscar CastilloEighteen new firefighters graduated the MFD Fire Academy on November 6, 2015. We introduce them to you on the MFD Blog throughout December.

Current station assignment: 
Station 9 (Midvale Blvd.)

Why did you want to be a firefighter?
I was never sure what I wanted to do with my life when I was younger. In an attempt to guide us toward our passion in high school, we took a school-wide job aptitude test. To the surprise of my counselors, I ended up testing in an area where I was able to do anything I wanted, which happens in only 2% of the population. This ended up just confusing me even more! 

Because of my amazing parents, I have always had the drive to help others, but I never thought it could prepare me for a career where I could really make a difference. I decided to take an  EMT course, and after spending a day at a firehouse as part of a ride-along, I knew exactly what I wanted to do for the first time in my life.

Why did you want to serve in the city of Madison?
Being born and raised on the southwest side of Chicago I was exposed to an extensive variety of cultures and traditions. This influenced me to have an open mind and be culturally aware. My first venture to Madison was strictly by coincidence, but it was love at first sight. The vibrant essence of this town is perpetuated by the acceptance of innovative ideas and allowing diversity to flourish. To me, that combines what I loved about the big city without the big-city problems. Madison is a modern utopia with great people, and there is no other place I'd rather be. 

What has been the most rewarding part of your experience so far?
As a personal achievement, challenging myself. By being pushed you really find out who you are. I'm not the person who can be in an office from 9 to 5. I yearn to be physically and mentally tested, and this academy extensively provided both. 

Class 4's motto is "Hard work is its own reward," and I do believe that we have embodied that. Having been privileged enough to work with people as motivated, hard working, and supportive as my class has provided a lifelong camaraderie that will only be strengthened by working with people who have been through the the same process. 

What advice would you give to someone hoping to join the MFD?
You don't have to be a perfect fit. Diversity is the cornerstone of our identity. There is no mold for who you have to be. Madison is amazing when it comes to diversity, and that translates to adaptability that is really second to none-- come as you are. 

With that being said, be ready to work as hard as you ever have. You have to really give it your all. Love working with people, be positive, and you will find that there really isn't any better career. 

This content is free for use with credit to the City of Madison - Fire and a link back to the original post.

Category: General, Station 9