Spotsylvania Volunteer Fire Department (SVFD) would like to introduce one of our newest firefighters! Ntakirutimana Issac. Out family is proud to have diverse people of all backgrounds working together to support our community!
Where are you originally from?
I was originally born in Tanzania
How old were you when you moved to the US?
I was ten years old.
How old are you now?
I am 21.
Did you move to VA when you first came to the US?
Yes, and I grew up here in Fredericksburg and went to school here.
Was it hard to learn English, how do you think English not being your primary language play a part during the fire academy?
Yes, it was because when I was in Tanzania, I never knew English existed. So when I came to America, no one in my family spoke English. We had to start from the ground up. First we started with ABCs, even that was a challenge but we had friends that would come help us. Eventually, we learned some words. Going through the Fire Academy was a challenge, but it wasn’t that challenging as I thought because the classmates I had made it more fun instead of such a challenge, having them gave me more hope of knowing that I would do great.
Would you consider this to be a great accomplishment for you?
Yes! This was the greatest accomplishment in my whole life. I never thought I was going to be able to make it through; within me there are always some negative thoughts that I was not going to be able to get rid of. As I talked with my classmates and mentors, it gave me hope that I can succeed. Everyone was supportive and lifted me up from my negativity to positivity.
Do you plan on pursuing firefighting as a paid career too? Is an EMT certification next on your goal list?
Yes and yes
I bet it feels great to be out there learning and actually going on calls.
Yes it is, I love it. I learn more going on calls and when something is explained while showing or doing it because I am more of a hand on person.
What does your family think of all of this?
They were amazed because it’s a path they never thought I would take. They thought being a firefighter was for heroic people who knew more English. They didn’t know or consider that we could be heroes in this role too.
If you could give someone just starting out and considering volunteering or pursuing this path advice, what would you tell them?
Volunteering is something…it comes from a part of you that wants to make a difference in the world. So if you want to make a difference in the world, you must be different from the world. Joining SVFD was the best choice I made in my whole life. I thought I was just going to be surrounded with only fire trucks and ambulances, not realizing that I would be surrounded with the loving, caring and intelligent people of SVFD, they made me feel at home. Taking this path is not just a way to tell see the great things firefighters do, it is a way of telling and showing you your own part to play in someone else’s life and in the community.