Photo by Shane Wynn
For Bob Dobson, being a firefighter/paramedic is “the most rewarding career possible.” After growing up in Akron, he was inspired to become a fire fighter by his brother, who also went into the field, and because of his desire to help people. He went to EMT school and started his career at a young age. He worked with Coventry’s fire department for his first 11 years and has been with Stow ever since.
Bob says he’s had many memorable experiences in his 20 years in the field, but his most “life-altering” one was going to Nicaragua to donate a fire engine in 2007. “It was an unbelievable gift to them,” he says. But Bob and his coworkers offered more than just a truck. They helped teach local firefighters modern techniques that will help keep them safe while they’re saving others. “I know they were the ones that got the fire engine, but we were the ones that really profited,” he says. “We learned how lucky we are to be in the U.S.”
Difficulties of the job: “The public is always watching so there’s always pressure there,” he says. He also has to wear a lot of hats between saving people’s belongings, handling sick children and performing various tasks for people whose thinking is, “If you can’t fix it, call the fire department.”
Another memorable experience: Going to New York City for the Firefighters’ March after Sept. 11. “It was very gratifying,” he recalls. “I felt like the whole city respected us.”
With the guys at the station: “We don’t have a lot of down time between calls, but when we do we play basketball or cook dinner together.”
Favorite movies/TV shows: “The Shawshank Redemption,” “Remember the Titans” and “Two and a Half Men”
What he’d be doing if he weren’t a firefighter: Teaching grade school
Favorite music: Country
Passions: Traveling, the beach and spending time with his children and friends
Hidden talents: Cooking—“Sweet potato soufflé and anything I can grill.”
During free time: Bob likes to be active and enjoying the outdoors, whether its mountain biking or riding his motorcycle.
After retirement: “I want to go to Europe, travel and meet people.”