Daniel Stehler and Bill Millard are Warren’s newest firefighters after they were sworn in Friday on the steps of city hall.
Both said it’s been a lot of hard work and a longtime dream for both. For Millard, it started in high school.
“I was in high school, a few of my father’s friends were firefighters and they would tell great stories about the camaraderie of the fire department,” Millard said.
Stehler said a life-changing personal experience made him strive to be a firefighter.
“I wasn’t able to help in a situation,” he said. “Therefore it made me want to help others in that same type of situation.”
The two hires brought the city’s total firefighter roster to 68.
A few months ago, the ceremony and hires wouldn’t have happened. Stehler and Millard were hired under the federal SAFER grant. The city was granted an extension in May, one day before the grant was set to expire.
The city already had handed out layoff notices to 14 firefighters when they got the extension to use the remaining $1.7 million that will expire next May.
“We have a new application submitted and we are hopeful to get a renewal on this,” said Fire Chief Ken Nussle. “So we just keep chipping away and we hope to have these firefighters here for many years.”
Both men said they know that if the grant is not secured next year, they may find themselves without a job.
“I look at it as experience and bettering myself and hopefully it doesn’t happen but if it does happen, I have added something to my portfolio that I can be better at it,” Stehler said.