Student Spotlight: Jon Drummer
Jon Drummer has always enjoyed helping people.
“I vividly remember working at a local pool while I was in high school,” he said. “We had to call the FD for a patron. I sat there watching what the medics and firefighters did, with all their equipment and personnel on scene, and thought ‘Wow, these guys are cool.’ From then on, I knew I wanted to be like them.”
Drummer chose College of DuPage due to both its affordability and the opportunities offered.
“In the service, a degree only gets you so far. I wanted experience and I wanted to gain any and all licenses I needed,” he said. “The EMT instructors I had allowed for ride time opportunities at their respective fire houses. The opportunity I had talking to Dan Krakora and having his guidance through applying to medic school and ultimately landing my first job at a firehouse made the decision a no brainer.”
Drummer graduated with an associate’s degree in Fire Science, received his paramedic license through Central DuPage Hospital and the basic fire ops certificate through the Illinois state Fire Marshall.
“Coming out of COD with everything I have in hand today is a great start to anyone’s resume,” he said. “COD is the only local institution that helps their students get that ahead of the game.”
Currently, Drummer works full time as a paramedic firefighter in Hoffman Estates. He continues to take specialized classes that add to his skills as a firefighter, including vehicle extrication and rope rescue. During the next year, he is starting diver certification courses in hopes of joining the dive team in Hoffman Estates.
Thanks to College of DuPage, Drummer has the skills needed to reach these goals.
“Between EMT class, medic school and the fire academy, I did not have a bad experience with any instructor,” he said. “I keep in touch with most of them to this day. They give you the tools to succeed. How you utilize them is all up to you.
“Professionally, I met so many people and have so many contacts. You really start to build a network of individuals who want to help and see you succeed. Personally, I have met friends over the years that I wouldn't have if I didn’t attend COD. Medic school was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life, and I have buddies from there who I wouldn't trade for anything. The fire academy pushed me physically, and I also met a great group of guys that I’m honored to call my friends. I remember at the end of the 10-hour Saturday academy days, I’m beat and tired and amazed at what the guys accomplished. There’s no better feeling in the world.
“My advice for people thinking of this career path would be to go to a firehouse or to a program coordinator, like Mr. Krakora, or to a buddy who’s already in the service, and talk to them. Everyone I’ve spoken to about this job loves it and can get you excited about it. Do a ride along with a department and see the ins and outs of a daily shift. If you have the drive and the fire to do this job, then go for it. There is a sense of reward that I can’t quite put into words when you truly feel like you helped someone in need.”
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