Natural to protect, serve
link Christina Calloway: Staff photo
Portales Fire Chief Gary Nuckols grilled hot dogs and smoked pulled pork to show appreciation for his employees and their family in recognition of Emergency Medical Services Week in Portales. Nuckols said it’s an annual tradition.
Considered by some as the heroes of the community, the emergency medical technicians and firefighters of the Portales Fire Department say the desire to protect and serve is in their nature.
For all they do, each year they are honored by the city and their own leader Portales Fire Chief Gary Nuckols during Emergency Medical Services Week. Nuckols trades his hat from chief to grill master and hosts a barbecue for his team.
Here are a few profiles of the PFD’s staff:
• Richard Hall of Roswell was about to graduate from Eastern New Mexico University last year when he realized a career in music wasn’t for him.
The former 28-year-old bassoonist said he decided he wanted to help patients.
Since he’s been with the department for two months, he hasn’t experienced a whole lot but his approach is to breathe and take things one step at a time.
Hall said his grandfather was once a fire chief in Roswell and his soon to be father-in-law was also a firefighter so he believes that’s where the inspiration to be a firefighter comes from.
“I have respect for both of those men very much,” Hall said.
• Blake Martin, 22, of Portales was also influenced by two men in his life to take this career path. The husband and father of one said his uncle was a firefighter in Clovis and his father volunteered as one in Alamogordo.
“I just like helping people and being there for the community,” said Martin.
Martin knows being a firefighter and EMT is not an easy job nor one that anyone can do.
“Some people handle pressure well, some can’t. If you can’t handle it, it’s not a job for you,” Martin said. “That’s what makes every gentleman here unique.”
Martin said within the eight months he’s been with the department, he’s fought a few grass fires and has also watched the TriState Careflight helicopter land on a highway and transport a patient.
Martin hopes to get his paramedic license in the next three years.
• Reylon Wimbish said he’s wanted to be a firefighter since he was a child.
“It was in me, it’s what I was born with,” said the 25-year-old senior firefighter and native of Carson, California.
The husband and father of one has been with the department for a little more than a year, but within the first few months, he was honored for saving a life in a Portales house fire.
“Some people live their whole careers without even doing that,” Wimbish said.
He often de-stresses with basketball and cooking, and though he said some of the experiences he has on the job are hard on his mental state, Wimbish said he’s committed to the job.
“You get to help people...you get to make a difference,” Wimbish said. “Some people are just wired for it.”