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Serve & Protect: CFD Lt. Bryan Shaw

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When Bryan Shaw graduated from Western Boone High School, he went directly into public service.

“This field has provided me with so much, including a secondary education,” said the Crawfordsville Fire Department lieutenant.

As a primary training instructor, Shaw now helps others considering a career in emergency services. In addition to his responsibilities as a firefighter/paramedic with the City of Crawfordsville, he teaches high school students enrolled in the technical careers course at Southmont High School. There he leads students from Southmont, North Montgomery, Crawfordsville, Western Boone and North Putnam in the basics of emergency response. This is his fifth class of students.

“Some of the students may go into the class wanting to be a doctor or a nurse, but then become passionate — they get the bug — or like the adrenaline rush and they end up doing this,” Shaw said.

Even if students don’t seek emergency services as a professional career, Shaw hopes they will use their knowledge and training to serve their local volunteer departments.

“That’s one of our goals,” he said. “We want to make sure our county departments have volunteers.”

Shaw added there is another benefit to volunteering. Ivy Tech Community College waives tuition for two years if the degree seeker is serving on a volunteer department.

“There’s a lot of opportunities there,” Shaw said.

Shaw also teaches similar classes in emergency management response to employees at local industries, including Nucor and Lakeside Book Co., and to local volunteer fire departments.

As a former volunteer himself, Shaw knows how important these departments are to the communities they serve and the training that goes into the volunteers.

Shaw first got involved in public service as a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician in 1995 with the Jamestown and Walnut Township Volunteer fire departments. In 1998, he went to work as an EMT with S.T.A.R. Ambulance Service, a private contractor, then worked for Boone County EMS. In 2004, he joined the CFD as a firefighter/EMT. Since joining the city department he completed his paramedic training. In December 2020, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant.

Although Shaw spends quite a bit of time in the classroom, he also can be found keeping track of department training records and certifications, and answers emergency calls when he is back at the station.

“I enjoy the teaching aspect of doing this job,” he said. “We have a saying around here that when guys retire, there’s a wealth of knowledge that’s going out the door, so this is just one way for me to help continue to pass that knowledge down.”

Like some of his students, Shaw was 14 when he did a ride along with medics from Witham Health Services in Lebanon, and caught “the bug.” He also saw how the fire department cared for his brother when he suffered an injury, and he felt a desire to serve.

Shaw also served as a reserve police officer for 10 years at Jamestown.

“I’ve seen both sides and the different perspectives for each,” he said. “And I have a lot of respect for both.”

Like others in the emergency response profession, Shaw has a deep desire to serve and help others. He also welcomes the variety that comes with each day and each call.

“Every day is a different day,” he said. “Every day can be an adventure, you don’t know what we are going to do ... Making sense out of chaos, it’s one of our jobs, and I like that.”

When Shaw is not at work, he enjoys spending time with his family, which includes his wife of 23 years, Michall, adult son Devin, daughter-in-law Jaysee, and two grandchildren, Seinna, who will soon be 3, and a seven-week-old grandson Elliot. He also enjoys motorcycle rides and camping.

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