Being healthy and physically fit is essential to performing the duties of a firefighter safely and efficiently. Having been a firefighter for 14 years, I realized the significance of being physically fit; however, no part of my firefighter training ever addressed how to improve physical fitness or health. Because of that, it has been my personal mission to create health and wellness training programs for North Carolina's firefighters.
When I found out Gaston College offered a Health and Fitness Science program, I was ecstatic. Within the first few weeks of being in the program, I was blown away by the knowledge, experience and professionalism of my instructors. Every moment spent in the classroom or lab opened my eyes a bit wider to the complex world of health and fitness. The knowledge and experience collected from my time at Gaston College has enabled me to create numerous online health and wellness resources for emergency responders across North Carolina. I have also been tasked by the North Carolina Office of State Fire Marshal to author a health and wellness course that will be required of any individual seeking certification as a firefighter in our state. This is a major triumph for emergency responders, since heart disease is the leading cause of death for firefighters. None of this would have been possible without the education, experience and support of my instructors in the Health and Fitness Program at Gaston College.
Being a part of this program has changed my life both personally and professionally. I smile every time I walk into the Health Sciences building on Gaston's campus and I am extremely thankful for the path that led me there.