As he puts on the Crawfordsville Fire Department uniform, Gavin Waddell is carrying on his family’s tradition.
Waddell, 18, of Waveland, was sworn in to the department Wednesday, beginning a career inspired by his father, Buck, a longtime firefighter who teaches the local vocational classes that train up-and-coming firefighters and paramedics.
“I am enthusiastic to protect the community in which I love and in which I have been raised,” the younger Waddell said.
Waddell, who graduated from Southmont High School last spring, became a certified firefighter through the West Central Indiana Career and Technical Education Cooperative. Nine of the program’s graduates have been hired as firefighters/paramedics in Crawfordsville and two more joined other Indiana departments.
The students train alongside Crawfordsville firefighters at live burn scenarios and emergency drills. Waddell also completed an internship with the department during his senior year in high school.
Waddell has served with Fountain County EMS and as a reserve firefighter at Pittsboro Fire Department. His 23-year-old brother, Wyatt, is a firefighter in Plainfield. Their mother, Beth, served on the Wayne Township Fire Department.
“It’s every firefighter parent’s dream to have your kids follow in your footsteps,” said Buck Waddell, who will retire later this year after 32 years of service, mostly in Brownsburg.
He plans to continue teaching the vocational classes, a duty he shares with Crawfordsville Fire Capt. Nate Patton.