04/07/13 — Rosewood junior firefighters do well at state competition

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Rosewood junior firefighters do well at state competition

By John Joyce
Published in News on April 7, 2013 1:50 AM

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Members of the Rosewood Fire Department Junior program brought home several trophies after attending competition at the third annual Stony Hill Volunteer Fire Department Junior Firefighter Competition. They are: Lt. James Boyette, advisor; Adam Newcomb, junior firefighter; Jessica Milligan junior firefighter; Alex Brogden, junior firefighter; and Luke Milligan, adviser. Not pictured are Gabriel Boyette and Luke Hill, junior firefighters; and Rodney Pittman, adviser.

The trophies read, "Stony Hill Inaugural 'March into Spring.'"

They sit atop a 9-11 tribute, which includes a piece of the wreckage encased in a huge glass display and authenticated with an official N.Y. Port Authority tag and a U.S. flag draped over it.

The backdrop of the case is another U.S. flag, with the same 50 stars and white stripes, but the red bands are made up of the names and companies of the 343 fallen members of N.Y. Fire Department who gave all that day.

The five young men and women of the Rosewood Fire Department's Junior Firefighter program gave their all recently at a competition in Wake Forest.

They placed third and won trophies for the competition that included running 150 feet of hose and spraying a fire 40 feet away, a search and rescue operation, and a written exam. They placed first in the bucket brigade.

The program, celebrating its one-year anniversary this month, is similar to the Fire Explorer's program, except that it is completely independent.

"I believe the Fire Explorer's program is run through the Boy Scouts (of America), ours isn't," James Boyette said.

Boyette is the program advisor. There are five junior firefighters, each of whom has been with the program since its inception.

"Our juniors have a night of their own one night a month, strictly for them," Boyette said.

There they train to assist the volunteer firefighters on scene at real calls.

Otherwise they meet every Tuesday. The training is fully involved, hands-on with full gear. The teens even respond to calls with the firefighters and assist them with gathering equipment, clean-up and accountability -- "anything outside the area of immediate danger," Boyette said.

The team competed in seven events at the Stony Hill Inaugural, for which they all trained together.

"The whole team trained for it, for each event. Then they just picked who all would do what event when we got there," Boyette said.

Jessica Milligan, a 17-year-old Rosewood High School sophomore, participated in four of the events, and took the written exam.

"I grew up in the fire service," she said. Her father is a firefighter and Jessica always wanted to help people, so the program was the right fit for her, she said.

Adam Newcomb, 16, is a junior at Rosewood High, and also competed in four events, including the search and rescue and the hose relay.

"Rosewood Fire Department has always been a part of my life, as far back as I can remember I always wanted to be a firefighter and work for Goldsboro Fire Department," he said.

Both Adam and Jessica said they love being able to train with the firefighters and that they learn something new each week.

"I like feeling like (I) belong somewhere... it's a good experience," Jessica said.

Boyette said that its not just about the individuals, it's about the team. That is something firefighters of any age can relate to.

"When you go in to a building you're relying on the team inside, the guys outside, the guy behind you on the hose, the driver," he said.

Luke Hill, 17, said that he has also always wanted to be a firefighter. He competed with Jessica and Adam in a few of the events and enjoys every aspect of the Junior Firefighters program.

There are more competitions later this year that the program is looking to attend, but none scheduled as of yet. Until then the juniors will continue to train and learn to come together.

"They watch each other's back, Boyette said.