Meet Firefighter Brett Bower
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Where are you stationed?
I’m assigned to Station 9 (Midvale Blvd.) on the C shift.
Why did you want to pursue this career?
Being a firefighter checked every box for my dream career, most specifically for being a career that challenges me to be my best every day and do so in a team environment. I have enjoyed the competition involved in team sports and the satisfaction of working cohesively with others toward a common goal since I was young. Being a firefighter and working with your crew demands readiness every day, both by the members of your crew and the members of the community that we serve. That feeling that your crew and the community are relying on you is the ultimate sense of responsibility and is what makes it so enjoyable to ensure I am prepared to serve each day. Not many other careers offer that same sort of satisfaction from the demands of the job.
Why did you want to work in Madison, for the Madison Fire Department?
The city of Madison has been my home since I was born and played a vital role in how I was raised. I went to Madison Lafollette High School on the east side of town, as well as Madison public middle and elementary schools. My grandfather served on MFD for 30+ plus years and inspired me to follow this career path. His integrity and commitment to always putting others' best interests before his own was something I wanted to embrace in my career and life. I do not doubt that his time with MFD played a major role in instilling these characteristics in his personality. Madison, and the Madison Fire Department, take pride in their community and every member of it. The culture and vast array of people taught me how fantastic it is to have a diverse community, how to connect with people and, most importantly, how to have compassion for everyone you meet. I could not think of a better way to repay the community that gave me so much than by giving back to it.
What has been the most rewarding part of your experience so far?
Much of my experience thus far has been in the academy, which was an incredible experience. It echoed every idea I had about the teamwork, commitment and reliability required by this career. The last two weeks of the academy were very rewarding. The most rigorous week of training, followed by graduating and being pinned by my grandfather alongside the other 16 members of Class 6 was surreal. It has been a fantastic start to my career as a City of Madison firefighter, and getting started at the station has been equally rewarding.
Now that you've graduated the Academy, what do you look forward to the most?
Finally working in the stations and in the community is very exciting. It was a lot of hard work to be able to be here now serving the city. Being able to put the training into action has been something I’ve been looking forward to for months. Also, coming to work every day and knowing it will never be the same as the shift prior is exciting. I’m looking forward to the new friendships and continuing to build on the ones I made in the academy. Every person I have met within the department has been incredible and brings something unique to add to the overall depth of the department.
Looking back at the Fire Academy, what was the most challenging element?
Balancing the workload in the academy, physically and mentally, was a challenge. Many nights after working in our gear all day we wanted to crash, but there was still book work and reading to be done. Those few months our minds were focused solely on firefighting, so it was difficult for our family at times, too. Family and friends were an integral part in understanding the workload and commitment needed to get through this part of the process.
What advice would you give to someone hoping to join the MFD?
Tell your story. Explain how it makes you unique and able to enhance the service we provide the community. We all have a story that has made us who we are today, and there’s no better way to describe how you would respond to a scenario than relating it to a similar one you have already succeeded in. It gives your interview questions and scenarios a sincere and positive tone when they are reiterating your personal success stories. The process is designed to find out who each candidate is as a person. Your story, and how you got to where you are, is the best way to depict this picture to the folks interviewing you.