Flagler student balances school and firefighting

By Katherine Brock | gargoyle@flagler.edu

gOCFlagler College junior, Nick Carey may look like the average college student, but there is more to him than just studies and college life.

Carey is a volunteer firefighter for the Flagler Beach Fire Department. He has been in training since the beginning of this summer. When the semester started, Carey continued his volunteering at the fire department, while maintaining his class load. Carey’s hope is to become a full time firefighter upon graduation from Flagler College.

“I chose to become a firefighter because it’s a job that not many people can do or will do. It’s a adrenaline rush. It’s like nothing else,” Carey said.

While many students are studying to gain a degree in field they hope to  one day work in, Carey is simply using college as a backup plan. A degree in communication is simply for worse case scenario for Carey.

“Always have a contingency plan, if I get hurt on the job and can no longer perform my duties I would like a good career to fall back to, and having a degree would make this option about ten times easier,” Carey said.

Many might think that maintaining a full class load, volunteering as a firefighter and continuing a social life would be a challenge. On average, Carey volunteers 24 hours a week for the fire department. On top of that Carey is continually keeping up with his class work and finds time to hang out with his friends. Sounds like a lot of hard work, but Carey explains it is not difficult at all.

“My chief wants me to finish school and graduate. He knows that getting a diploma is important so he gives me a lot of leeway towards my hours at the station. As for a social life, it doesn’t affect it at all. I work a 24 hour shift usually on Fridays, come home Saturday morning and start the party,” Carey said.

While not many cannot imagine Carey working hard to throw himself in a burning building, he explains that the rewards are greater than the risk.

“The most rewarding part for me is knowing that when I get off shift I know I made a difference in somebody’s life,” Carey said.

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