Meet Firefighter Joshua Balli
Eighteen 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 8 (Lien Rd.)
Why did you want to be a firefighter?
My stepfather and his father were both IAFF Local 1236 firefighters in DeKalb, Illinois. Growing up in the firehouse and being immersed in the culture from such a young age left a very large impression on me. Even at the age of 11 or 12, I can remember crawling around in the apparatus bay and learning where all the tools were on each and every engine and truck. I was even told at one point that I probably knew where more equipment was on "Big John," DeKalb's Tower Ladder 1, than any of the guys that worked it.
But the biggest impression left on me as a child was watching my stepfather and the crews of Local 1236 help the community. Not just in emergency situations, but also in the everyday life of the citizens that they served. From this, the desire and need to better serve was created, and being a firefighter was the only way I wanted to do it.
Why did you want to serve in the city of Madison?
Madison is such a diverse and cultured city, and I was exposed to it at a young age. I had an aunt and three cousins that lived in Madison when I was growing up. Some of my favorite mini-vacations as a kid were coming to Madison and spending time here. When I decided to test to become a full-time firefighter, two thoughts came to my head: One, my fondness for the City of Madison as a result of those memories; and secondly, my stepfather always talking so positively about the City of Madison Fire Department and how progressive and professional it is. These two thoughts, coupled with a great push from friends, left me only applying to the City of Madison Fire Department.
What has been the most rewarding part of your experience so far?
The most rewarding experience has not been any of my personal achievements... It has not been overcoming the great physical, emotional, or mental aspects of the Fire Academy... By far it was seeing the look on my fellow recruits' eyes and faces as we finished the last challenging task of our Smoke Divers week. The look of accomplishment struck me deeply and forever will be with me.
Looking back at the Fire Academy, what was the most challenging element?
One day during the Academy, I was pulled out of the group and made to stand on the sidelines during a team-building exercise. Watching my teammates struggle and not being able to help was the hardest thing I think that I've ever experienced, let alone in the Academy.
What advice would you give to someone hoping to join the MFD?
"Hard work is its own reward........"