So far, Pablo Trevino has been spared the onslaught of teasing peculiar to working in the Norwalk Fire Department. After all, the Berlin Heights man was only sworn in Monday morning.
Firefighter Jeff Phillips said Trevino was doing a "terrible" job, calling him "a bad hire."
OK, so despite being "the new guy," Trevino's co-workers already have taken pot shots at him. Such is the life of a Norwalk firefighter.
"This is an open slot that's been there since Chief Bores retired," Chief Doug Coletta said. "We didn't add anything."
Robert Bores, appointed chief in 1991, retired Oct. 28, 2006 after 31 years with the fire department.
Trevino, 27, was one of about 70 people who applied for the open full-time firefighter position. An independent company ran a written test in the spring. About two weeks later, the applicants did a physical agility test, handled by the fire department.
"The physical agility test is pass-fail. (Being hired) is based on the scores on the written test," Coletta explained.
The last time there was a "new guy" at the Norwalk Fire Department was January 2003, when Shawn Dickerson was hired. Coletta said hiring Trevino means the department is "back up to 18, where we belong."
Trevino was an active duty firefighter for the Air Force for five years. He responded to structure and aircraft fires.
"Basically, (it's) the same stuff we do here. The aircraft would be the biggest difference," he said.
Still a reservist, Trevino had been stationed in North Carolina for three years and in Japan for one. He also did a four-month Air Force tour in Kyrgystan near Afghanistan as a part of "Operation: Enduring Freedom." Trevino also had tours in Cyprus and Iraq.
So what attracted him to firefighting as a profession?
"It's a thrill for me. I enjoy doing it. I enjoy helping others. I enjoy the medical side of things," said Trevino, a basic emergency medical technician for the last four years.
The 1999 Edison High School graduate enjoys the small town atmosphere of Norwalk. Despite the firefighters' reputation for being kidders, Trevino said he's already connected with his co-workers and is "waiting" to be teased.
"I haven't gotten to that part yet," he said Monday.
This week Trevino will be going through orientation and has been trained in where the equipment is stored and driving the various trucks. Coletta said he will be responding to calls, but will "mostly observe."
The new firefighter starts shift work next week.
"I'm sure he'll fit in just fine," Coletta said.