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The Hero Next Door: Greg Heckler

Meet Greg Heckler, safety officer, treasurer and volunteer firefighter with Hecktown Volunteer Fire Co. No. 1 and this week's 'Hero Next Door.'

The Hero Next Door: Greg Heckler

Greg Heckler, 57, is a safety officer, treasurer and firefighter with . He has been a volunteer for 41 years.

Heckler grew up in  -- his home and father’s appliance shop were across the street from the fire company. He is semiretired. “I’m still active but there’s a few little health issues that I have to work out,” Heckler said.

Heckler lives with his wife, Joan, who has been a volunteer in the emergency medical service field since 1974. They have two children.

What is your favorite thing about being a firefighter?

“I enjoy talking about it. I enjoy talking to kids and talking to adults [about firefighting]… It’s pretty much what I really enjoy… They’re astounded by what we do. It’s something a lot of people don’t understand.”

What made you decide to become a firefighter?

“Before my 16th birthday I took my first aid course, and my 16th birthday is when I joined [the EMS]… I’ve lived across the street since I was a year old.”

How do your loved ones feel about you putting your life on the line?

“[My wife] knew what she was getting into… [My kids] used to sit in the carrier while I worked on trucks.”

What would you and your wife do with your children when you both went on call?

“[We'd say], 'We’re going on call, you’ve got to go over to Grammy’s.' That’s the way we did it.”

What kind of training have you had so far?

“We continue to do hazardous material training… There’s been a multitude. A lot of new rescue classes because of the new cars.”

What would you tell someone who is thinking about joining the department?

“Don’t expect that it’s all glory … There are a lot of things that go along with riding a fire truck in a parade.”

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