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Protect & Serve: Lt. Seth Nichols

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Being a firefighter was one of the easiest choices Seth Nichols ever had to make.

“When I was a kid one of my greatest life influences was my grandpa, Richard Nichols,” he said. “He served 23 years at the Crawfordsville Fire Department. I have tried to model myself and my career as he did. His father, Elijah Nichols, served prior to him starting in 1937 not knowing it was the beginning of a four-generation tradition. 

“My grandpa took his place on the department. His son, my uncle, carried on the tradition serving 36 years and is now retired. I was able to work beside him on the department for several years before his retirement. Now I am able to continue this tradition wearing the same unit number 11 as all of them.”

Nichols graduated from North Montgomery High School in 2004. He then worked for Brentwood Farms raising hogs and then Fleetwood Travel Trailers prior to being hired at the fire department under now Mayor Todd Barton. His first day on the job was Aug. 30, 2006.

His educational background includes completing EMT Basic Training, which is required to be a CFD applicant. He also completed paramedic school through Hendricks Regional Health.

As a firefighter, Seth works 24-hour shifts (7 a.m. to 7 a.m.).

An average day includes checking the apparatus to make sure everything is in working order as well as and station cleaning and maintenance..

“As a shift lieutenant, myself and the other officers are responsible for shift training,” Nichols said. “We usually train in the early afternoon based on run volume for the day. We cover a vast amount of disciplines at the firehouse. We are not just firemen. We are required to be proficient in several different areas of rescue, extrication, ropes, HazMat, and EMS. So being up to date on our skills is very important. In the evening we eat dinner together and then wait on our next call.”

The best part of his job is the camaraderie.

“This is truly the best job in the world and it wouldn’t even be close if I did not have the group of men and women around that we do,” Nichols said. “Having great people to work beside. People that push you to the best of your abilities is definitely the best part of our job.”

Ultimately, serving others is the reason for the job.

“We get the opportunity to make their worst day a little bit better,” he said.

Seth said all of the firefighters are appreciative of the support the community gives them.

On the flip side, a firefighter’s schedule can be difficult for the family.

“Our schedule presents a number of problems for our busy family,” he said. “Both of my daughters are three-sport athletes and having to miss their games or events is not easy. Blair, my oldest daughter, entered her freshman year at North Montgomery and knowing I can’t be there for everything is pretty hard.”

When he is not on duty or attending his daughters’ extra-curricular events, he can be found in his shop.

“I have a small auto restoration shop where we work on primarily vintage Ford cars.,” he said. “I am able to work with my dad (Ricky Nichols) several days a week in the shop and get to share our love of building classic cars together.”

His family also includes his wife of 16 years, Brittany, and their daughters, Blair, 15, and Bailey, 13. He has been a member of the Eagles for 15 years.

As for the likelihood of a fifth generation firefighter ... daughter Bailey is ready to suit up and serve.

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