Standing in the shadows

Program offers kids hands-on experience

Posted: Tuesday, March 04, 2008

 

  Kenai Fire Department Capt. Jason Diorec, center, gives Kenai Central High School juniors Kalee Alsworth and David Ashkenasy a firsthand look at fire-fighting equipment during a tour on Job Shadow Day last week. KCHS junior Bobby Aikins awaits his turn on the ground. Photo by M. Scott Moon

Kenai Fire Department Capt. Jason Diorec, center, gives Kenai Central High School juniors Kalee Alsworth and David Ashkenasy a firsthand look at fire-fighting equipment during a tour on Job Shadow Day last week. KCHS junior Bobby Aikins awaits his turn on the ground.

Photo by M. Scott Moon

Cory Lehl was part of Kenai Central High School's Job Shadow Program as a student about eight years ago.

During her time with the program at the Kenai Fire Department with now Capt. Jason Diorec, she learned that her goal of becoming an EMT would best be pursued by becoming a firefighter.

"Job Shadow was definitely a foot in the door," Lehl said.

A year later, she was still working toward her dream. When her former hosts learned of this, they directed her toward scholarships to get the training she would need to become a firefighter.

Lehl attended school in Kenai at the Pacific Rim Institute of Safety and Management, or PRISM, and at Chemeketa Community College in Oregon.

"It's possible to get training by staying here in Kenai," she said.

Now, as the newest firefighter at the Kenai Fire Department, she's trying to give something back to the program by becoming a host herself.

Lehl took three students under her wing for the day Wednesday and tried to show them what being a firefighter is really like.

"It's always flattering when somebody wants to know what your job is like," Lehl said. "The kids who come here came here by choice, and they really want to learn."

One of her students, Bobby Aikins, came to Kenai specifically to obtain firefighter/EMT training.

When asked why he was so intent on doing so, he said, "My brother-in-law got hit by a truck when I was 14 and broke his leg into three pieces. My dad made my brother and I take an ETT (Emergency Trauma Technician) course."

From that point on, his interest only grew.

After taking several more classes in the field, Bobby learned the Kenai area offers some of the best firefighter training in the state: PRISM offers Firefighter 1 and 2 courses, and Kenai Peninsula College has an Emergency Medical Services Program, which includes everything from EMT to paramedic training.

Bobby was then able to move to the area during January, the start of the current school semester. Only then did he learn of the Job Shadow Program, which gave him a more hands-on look at the profession he's so interested in.

His time with the program seems only to have sharpened his resolve to become a firefighter, he said.

It is quite possible that in 10 years, another Job Shadow student will write an article about Bobby Aikins, the man who turned his time at Job Shadow into a profession.

Benjamin A. Matson is a junior at Kenai Central High School, who was an acting reporter for the Clarion as part of the Job Shadow Program.



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