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John Paul is a firefighter and paramedic for the city of Aurora. He has four kids and a wife, whom he loves very deeply. He has been doing his job for twenty years, and has currently been promoted to senior paramedic. He lives in Tamarack, which is in Naperville. One of John Paul’s hobbies is to spend time with his family.
From your point of view, what is the most enjoyable part of your job as a firefighter and paramedic?
The favorite part of my job is the opportunity of interacting with a variety of people. I love to go into work and actually see and help people. It makes me feel wonderful that I am doing something productive and making an impact, big or small, in peoples’ lives.
What are some of the challenges that your job throws your way?
Communicating with people is sometimes a difficult challenge because of all of the different languages that are widely spoken throughout Aurora. Also, the long hours are pretty hard because I am away from my family. Not only are the hours hard on me, but especially on my family. I have two daughters, two sons, and a wife at home. I cannot bare to leave them, but I always tell Breyden, my oldest son that is currently three years of age, to be the man of the house while I am gone.
What knowledge have you gained from your twenty years of being a firefighter and paramedic?
I believe that since I started working as a paramedic and firefighter, I have been able to improve my communication skills with people. Being on the job has also taught me how to be a leader. It taught me when to be independent, and when to work as a team. Your knowledge of things to know how to do varies from driving heavy machinery to how to put out a fire. I have also many times told my fourteen year old daughter that in a minute, I have got to figure out how to calm a person down. Over twenty years, I have been able to master doing that task because you do not have much time once you have the person in the ambulance because I have got to figure out what is wrong before I can help them. I love that I can actually apply that skill to other situations that are outside of my job.
Is there anything you wish you knew before you took the job?
Before I took the job, I did not know that it would be this hard on my family. I love them very much. I know my schedule is hard on them, and I cannot be there for every single moment. But I also know that I have got a lot of missed time to make up with them, and I try to as hard as I can. I am with them every chance I get.
Are you happy doing your job? If so, what aspects fulfill your happiness?
I love my job; I would not want to do anything else. Just helping people and the appreciation they portray for us is absolutely amazing. I could not think of anything better to be doing with my life. I love actually getting to know a person, instead of just doing my job. Not only do I try to gain the knowledge of their medical condition or issue, but I try to connect with the person personally.
Who helped you get where you are today; a senior paramedic and firefighter for the west side of Aurora?
The whole fire department because everybody works as a team. It is almost like they are my second family. I have been moved around from fire station to fire station quite a couple of times, but I have to live with those men and it does not take long for us to have an amazing bond.