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Clearwater native Sam Funk has always done his part in serving his community.
Now the former Neligh police officer is doing that in his dream job as a full-time firefighter with the Norfolk Fire Department. On February 2, Funk began a position with the department after serving as a volunteer firefighter for eight years. He began with the Clearwater Volunteer Fire Department in 2007. He remained with them until 2013 when he moved to the Neligh Volunteer Fire Department. He volunteered with Neligh until his official resignation in May of 2016.
During his time with the volunteer departments, Funk received extensive training to help him improve as a firefighter. He completed the Firefighter One course, received his EMT license, took paramedic’s courses, completed Firefighter Two and received Haz Mat operations certifications during his time with the two departments.
When the opportunity to become a paid firefighter arose, Funk took it. He moved to Norfolk with his wife and began working immediately. As a paid firefighter, he works 24 hour shifts for the department, working every three days. While on duty, Funk and his eight crew mates have a full schedule when they are not responding to a call.
“Normal day starts at 7 with shift change,” he explained. “After that, we’ll do a little morning PT and get our rigs checked for the day. Then we do training and station duties.”
When they aren’t training, the crew spends their time cleaning and treating the station as if it is their own house. They not only respond to fire calls, but they also respond to ambulance calls as well.
Every new firefighter must undergo a six month probationary period. Funk’s began on his first day in February and wrapped up July 28 with his badge ceremony.
During his probationary period, he has noticed that his previous experience as a volunteer helped him adjust to the new position.
“It definitely helped because a majority of the guys are paramedics,” Funk explained of the Norfolk Fire Department. “It was a bonus that I didn’t have to go through that because I already had it.”
Funk admitted that he is grateful to be able to serve another community and is excited for the challenges he now faces in a bigger community.