Becoming a firefighter has been a dream of Jordan Dickison's since he was a young boy. Kody Dakan has been helping to extinguish fires with another department.
Dickison and Dakan have recently completed the first phases of training and were officially hired July 21 as full-time firefighters at the Sweetwater Fire Department by Grant Madden, fire chief and director of emergency services.
"We're extremely glad to have (Dickison and Dakan)," Madden said. "They're dedicated, hard workers and I look forward to working with them."
Additional courses are required before Dickison and Dakan are considered full-fledged firefighters, but Madden said it should take anywhere from six months to two years before the pair earns all the required certifications to become firefighters and emergency services technicians.
Originally from Abilene, Dickison, 25, landed in Sweetwater after learning of an opening in the fire department.
"There are a lot of reasons I wanted to be a firefighter," Dickison said. "In April of last year, I was in a car accident. I loved how the firemen and ambulance service in Abilene responded. I thought 'Hey, that's something I could do for the rest of my life.'"
Only 10 days in, Dickison said his expectations have been met.
"I like everything about it so far," he said. "I love the camaraderie, the guys, helping people, obviously — just how caring everybody is."
Dakan, 22, is a Merkel native and brings some experience to the table.
"I started as a volunteer in high school and after high school, I worked for the forest service in Merkel," Dakan said. "I wanted a change of pace and I thought it'd be fun to come over here and do this."
Dakan looks forward to contributing to the community via his new position.
"My favorite part of the job is just being out, helping, being around everybody," he said. "It's a different pace than it was at the forest service."
Dakan also mentioned camaraderie as a driving force behind a successful fire department.
"I think it will be fun. So far I like everybody here. Brotherhood is a big thing in the fire service anywhere you go, whether it be the forest service or a structural department," he said.
"You've got to be able to trust the person going in behind you or you're going behind."
Fire academy completion is the next task for Dickison and Dakan.
"They've still got a ways to go, but everything I hear about them so far has been positive," Madden said.