09/25/11 — ... and with almost 10 under his belt, Tyler Gardner hopes it will be his, too

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... and with almost 10 under his belt, Tyler Gardner hopes it will be his, too

By Gary Popp
Published in News on September 25, 2011 1:50 AM

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Tyler Gardner

Rosewood volunteer firefighter Tyler Gardner has been fascinated by the lights and sirens of fire engines ever since he was a boy.

"I used to see them going down the road, and I always wanted to know where they were going," Gardner said. "I have always been curious."

Gardner, now 27 years old, joined the department when he was 19, and he was immediately hooked.

"I learned to love it after about two weeks," he said.

Gardner said he loves the rush of adrenaline he gets when he is in the precarious position of fighting a fire, but that it's his relationships with fellow firefighters that have made him a fixture at the department for eight years.

"It is a brotherhood. You are like a family up there," Gardner said. "All my best friends are on the department."

But, he said, that doesn't always make it an easy commitment to keep.

The father of a 16-month-old boy and husband to a wife who works 24-hour shifts with an ambulance service, Gardner, who also works with the state Department of Transportation, said he understands why some people can't find time to fit volunteer firefighting into their lives.

"Some guys in my position would just quit," Gardner said, admitting that the recent addition to his family has made it a bit more difficult for him to get to fires and all the necessary training sessions.

Gardner said there are some Rosewood firefighters who can't make it to calls during the day because their jobs are located too far from the fire district.

Still others, Gardner said, work hours that don't favor the demands of working for the department.

"There are some (firefighters) that go to work at four or five in the morning, and by the time it gets around for training, they are tired or getting ready to go to bed," he said.

And that, he explained, can make filling out department difficult. But, he said, he is proud that he is able to be part of that select group of men and women who have made the commitment and who are fortunate to have the opportunity to serve their community by helping people when they are most in need.