A New Door Opens For Young Firefighter
By Ty Walker
When he was in high school, Nate Forrar was a star basketball player. The four-year varsity letterman was on track to follow his dream to play college basketball.
But his hopes got sidelined by a serious injury when he herniated two discs in his lower back, and he was forced to rethink his future. The 2023 Sam Barlow graduate decided to join a different kind of team and enrolled in the Hoodland Fire District Student Program.
Now he enjoys the same team camaraderie he felt on the basketball court as he does working with fellow firefighters. Forrar gets to stay active pulling regular shifts while he studies to earn his firefighter I and II certifications.
He has been getting hands-on experience in the student program for more than five months and expects to graduate by mid-December. He is also training to become an emergency medical technician.
“I was going to play basketball in college but ran into issues with injuries,” Forrar said. “That door closed, this one opened. I think everything happens for a purpose. I’m here and I’m going to take advantage of every moment. I love it here and I’m not complaining at all.”
It didn’t take long for him to be thrown into the fire in Hoodland. On just his third day on the job, Forrar went on a call for a structure fire. Little did he know when he woke up that morning that he’d be fighting his first house fire. After all, the great majority of calls are medical emergencies or car crashes.
“It was quite cool,” Forrar said. “Third day on the job I get a call for a fully involved structure fire. I got to see how that played out. That was really exciting to see an actual fire for the first time.”
He’s also gone on a couple of trauma calls and vehicle wrecks that really opened his eyes and showed him what being part of a first-responder team is all about.
“They were a bummer but exciting to see how firefighters care for other people, what our job really is,” he said.
Forrar grew up in a large family with three brothers and a sister in the Damascus area. In many ways the Hoodland Fire District is like a family, sort of a home away from home.
“I love coming to work every day,” Forrar said. “I love the guys.They’re very fun to be around.
I like the intensity. You don’t know what’s going to happen on each call. You’ve got to be prepared for anything. Sitting down at night having dinner and hanging out with everyone is something I look forward to every week.”
On nights off, Forrar still plays 5-on-5 basketball for fun in an adult recreation league. He also likes to work out on his own to stay fit.