Live-in program at SVFD makes investment in members
SHEPHERDSTOWN — The Shepherdstown Fire Department has made an investment to help members who want to actively serve their community while going to college at Shepherd or even working a job full-time. The company’s live-in program allows individuals, male or female, who are full-time students or employed, to live in dormitory-style housing at the station at no cost.
Jon Stammer, of New Jersey, has taken advantage of the program as a Shepherd student. According to Stammer, the program is a win-win for both the department and the firefighter/emergency medical technician.
“It offers a quick response for the community and helps people starting out, too,” Stammer said.
Former live-in member Troy Matlock agreed.
“But you have to meet certain requirements,” Matlock said. “You have to be a cleared firefighter or EMT within one year and be able to drive the engine or ambulance.”
Currently there are six individuals taking advantage of the program, including Stammer. Housing is available for up to 10 members.
“This program was actually one of the reasons I chose Shepherd,” Stammer said.
He explained that his father is a firefighter, so he grew up around the station.
While Stammer will graduate in May from Shepherd with a degree in computer engineering, he plans to continue to make the fire station his home, when he lands a full-time job, continuing to be an instrumental member of Shepherdstown’s company.
“I plan to live in the area for a few more years, at least,” Stammer said.
Matlock shared he took advantage of the live-in program during the summers when he attended Shepherd.
“I lived on campus as a student,” Matlock said. “But I worked and ran calls in the summer.”
Matlock has been a member of Shepherdstown’s department for over five years and attributes the live-in program and the training and experience he received at Shepherdstown with helping him in his career as a paid firefighter in Loudoun County, Virginia.
While living in, the residents enjoy a communal living and kitchen area with individual bedrooms and shared bathroom facilities. There are five bedrooms which can house two individuals each. The living spaces are separated from any public area within the station and only the residents have access.
Fire Chief Ross Morgan praised the program, saying it is a wonderful addition to the department.
“We need a few more,” Morgan said, of the live-in positions. “We are always looking for new members.”
Stammer and Matlock both discussed the training they have received while at Shepherdstown, all of which is paid by the department.
“A lot of training is offered at our station. We also go to a lot of classes in Washington County, Maryland where we are a mutual aid company,” Matlock said, mentioning EMT training is offered many times at the county’s Emergency Services Agency headquarters.
“The program really helps the community,” Stammer said. “Especially with night response for both fire and rescue.”