9/11 influenced Thomasville’s Fireman of the Year
Jonathan Hedrick was born in Thomasville on Sept. 11, 1982.
On Sept. 11, 2001, Hedrick's life and how he wanted to live it changed forever. In the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Hedrick, who as a boy idolized firemen, decided he wanted to do something to help people.
A decade later, the former sales representative and East Davidson High School alumnus reached a pinnacle in a very young career as Hedrick was named Thomasville Fire Department's 2012 Fireman of the Year.
"After 9/11 you get that sense where you just want to go out there and really do something to help others," Hedrick said. "'I've always admired firefighting since I was a little kid. I was fascinated by the fire trucks going by when I could barely walk. I've always had it my blood in some sense, but it really exhaled after the events of 9/11."
Hedrick, 30, started his career in 2004 volunteering at Pilot Fire Department. When not working at his day job selling custom displays, the High Point University graduate trained as a volunteer for six years before joining TFD full-time in 2010. On Dec. 1, Hedrick, as voted on by his peers, received the department's ultimate recognition.
"It's a great honor," said Hedrick. "I was surprised when I heard my name called out. It's very humbling and such a great achievement. It gives me that drive to continue to go out and do everything I need to do to excel as a firefighter. I have to give credit to the department and each and every one of the guys. Obviously I couldn't do it without them."
As a Chair City native, Hedrick said serving his hometown community is an added bonus to a career that is never mundane. Although, his sales experience still comes in handy from time to time.
"I was born and grew up here so there is a sense of pride in being able to help out the folks in this community," Hedrick said. "Firefighting is totally different but I can use the customer experiences [in sales] I learned and relate that to stuff I do here every day. When you get called out, they're obviously not having a good day and you want to be able to bring that level of customer service, so to speak, to them and help them."
When it was time to vote for this year's award, Battalion Chief Robbie Binkley said one name kept coming to the forefront.
"He stood out in a crowd," said Binkley. " He's very motivated. He loves his job and he loves serving the community of Thomasville. He's a good asset to the city and is a good fireman. When they think of Jonathan Hedrick they just see his motivation and his willingness to help people."
Hedrick lives in Thomasville with his wife Stephanie and their two daughters, Kirsten, 6, and Kyleigh, 4.
Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or firstname.lastname@example.org.