Melissa Linderman


Dear Perfect Firefighter Candidate:

I have been a subscriber to your service for five years and have applied for countless positions as both a firefighter and fire prevention officer. The timely manner in which your service has posted positions has proven to be extremely valuable. In the first couple of years into my membership, I applied and was picked up for two reserve firefighter positions in Orange County CA; subsequently, I gained valuable experience, which guided my career path.

The pursuit to become a firefighter is an extremely competitive field; after a couple of knee surgeries, I realized the pursuit for my passion to respond in “Big Red” was unrealistic. I put my Plan “B” on the front burner, began taking Prevention Officer classes and anxiously waited for Fire Prevention positions. As you know, the market for prevention positions are scarcer than firefighter; I interviewed as far north as Redding and Chula Vista to the south. I had two years prevention intern experience with two other departments in Orange County and in December of 2004, the market flooded with positions. It was finally my turn to get the Chief’s Oral Interview! What happened next only happened to the other lucky guy; I was offered positions with two different departments. A dilemma I never imagined I’d have to decide!

In February I got “the call” from West Covina Fire Department, the voice on the other end paused, then said, “Are you still interested in the position?” I wasn’t sure what the correct amount of enthusiasm was for being offered the career you’ve been working toward for six years; in shock, I managed to get out, “Yes, sir.”

One of the standard questions in every oral panel was, “What are your career goals?” My rehearsed reply was, “to have a career with a fire department that both encourages and provides a continued opportunity to learn the various areas of fire prevention and investigation.” I work 4 – 10’s, off Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, the Fire Marshal/Arson Captain, my immediate supervisor, has come up through the ranks and is on his way to Fire Chief’s chair. He is knowledgeable in all areas, easy going, willing to guide me, sends me to classes and allows me to respond to suspicious fires.

After being a willing intern, without pay, for two years to gain experience, I thank God every morning on my drive in, that I am one of the chosen few who is fortunate to have a career doing what I love. Thank you, Perfect Firefighter Candidate, for being instrumental in achieving my dream. I don’t get to ride the engine, however, the fire department, in appreciation for their successful apprehension of vandals to a HUMMER dealership, received a H-2 that I drive.

Melissa Linderman
Fire Protection Specialist
West Covina Fire Department

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