Q and A: Greiner is Firefighter of the YearFive years ago, a guy new in town decided to apply to become a volunteer on the Farmington Fire Department. At the department’s annual meeting last Friday night, that guy — Jason Greiner — was named Firefighter of the Year.
By: Michelle Leonard, The Farmington Independent
Five years ago, a guy new in town decided to apply to become a volunteer on the Farmington Fire Department. At the department’s annual meeting last Friday night, that guy — Jason Greiner — was named Firefighter of the Year.
Greiner and his family moved to town in 2005. He’s a fire lieutenant at Station 2, but he’s taken on several additional duties just because he enjoys the job. His efforts haven’t gone unnoticed.
“Jason is a go-getter,” fire chief Tim Pietsch said. “We’re much better off having him at the fire hall than not. It seems like every time I go up (to Station 2), he’s doing something up there.”
Greiner fought a cold all weekend, but he found a few minutes to sit down Monday night and talk about the honor.
Why did you become a firefighter?
Kind of funny, actually. It started with my wife seeing it in the paper and saying hey, you should try that. Her dad and uncles were all Bloomington firefighters at some point. She was kind of like, “It would be a good way to get to know people,” because I just moved here in ’05. So I put in an application. There’s always the cool side, you know, the “Oh yeah, that would be kind of cool being a firefighter.” You know, the little boy side coming out, I guess. But really, it all came down to her looking at the paper one day and saying, “Hey the fire department is hiring.”
In these five years you’ve been doing this now, has there been any big, rewarding aspect to it?
Oh, it’s all been rewarding. It’s a great group of guys. It’s a family really, you know? I’ve met a lot of guys I would have never met probably, and now they’re my best friends. And on any of our calls, it’s just great helping people and doing the fun things, and sometimes the not-so-fun things. The whole thing has been pretty rewarding.
What sort of extras do you do around here?
You don’t have enough paper.
I’m just kidding. Let’s see, I’ve been an engineer for, gosh, four of those five years now. Taking care of trucks up at Station No. 2. I’m on the new member committee, truck committee, relief association trustee, and that’s about it that comes to mind right now.
And turkey Bingo?
And turkey Bingo.
So, do you play turkey Bingo at all?
I haven’t. I haven’t since I’ve been here. It would be nice to sit down and try it once, though.
Did you have any idea you had even been nominated for Firefighter of the Year?
No, no I didn’t. It’s a really cool thing just to be nominated, not to mention get it. A lot of us just like coming down here and doing what we do because we enjoy doing it. To be rewarded for that is pretty cool, I’m not one of those people who expects or even wants it, but it’s kind of nice when it does come around.
What was your reaction, sitting there, listening to them talk through your bio? Was it a “Hey, that’s me” kind of moment?
Yeah. It was kind of funny. I’d gotten stuck in a snowstorm outside of St. Cloud picking up my oldest, so I didn’t get to the banquet until quarter after 8, I think it was. I missed the meal and everything. Me and my wife kind of snuck in the back, were sitting at the back table there, and kind of listening to them talk. Tim said my name and I was just going, “Really?” I had no idea. It was completely unexpected. Then you have to go walk and talk in front of everybody and the nervousness just kind of kicked in. I was excited, though. My wife was jumping for joy. It was kind of neat. A nice surprise. I got back from being on the road for almost seven hours and I almost said, “You know what? Maybe we won’t go this year.” I’m glad I did.
What are you going to do with your award? And didn’t you get a nozzle, too?
I got a plaque and that nozzle. My wife, she’s dreaming up all different kinds of ways to hang it and do all that kind of stuff. I’m sure we’ll hang it up on the wall somewhere.
If you had to make the choice all over again, would you still choose to become a firefighter?
Oh yeah. In a heartbeat. I’ve been in the Air Force now for 13 years, active duty, reserve and I’m a D.O.D. civilian now. I always thought that was my calling, working on airplanes. But I think this really is my calling now, it’s just a part-time gig. I love every bit of it. It’s a lot of fun. A great group of people. We all have something in common, so that helps. Not just every average Joe does this kind of thing.
Would you recommend it to someone who is kind of undecided, say, if their husband or wife would see it in the paper?
I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anybody. You get to do a lot of neat things in the community. You get to do some of the exciting stuff and work with the trucks and fire. It’s a lot of fun. You don’t know until you try it. I never really thought, “Yeah, I want to be a firefighter,” but now I can’t imagine not being one, really.