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They make firefighting a career

June 19, 2005|by DANIEL J. SERNOVITZ

daniels@herald-mail.com

MAUGANSVILLE - Dave Baer said he was careful not to influence his stepson's decision, although he quietly hoped Steve Eby would choose on his own to volunteer with the Maugansville Goodwill Volunteer Fire Co.

A month before his 16th birthday, much to Baer's pleasure, Eby joined Maugansville as a junior firefighter.

"I was pleased that he had chosen to do that. It was his own decision, I would not have influenced it one way or the other," said Baer, 50, of Maugansville. "Just being there to work together, to me, that's been a real pleasure, a real honor."

In addition to their volunteer service with Maugansville, both men also work as drivers for the Hagerstown Fire Department.

Baer, who has been with the department for 27 years, is assigned to Station 4 in the West End of Hagerstown. Eby, who will celebrate his third anniversary with the department next month, rotates between stations as needed.

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Eby noted there were other influences in his life that led him to both volunteer and work in fire service.

Eby's father, who died when Eby was about 5 years old, also volunteered with Maugansville and took his son to the station on occasion. Eby's mother, Nancy Baer, also volunteers with Maugansville.

"I was around it pretty much my whole life, I just kind of did it," said Eby, 31, of Boonsboro. "To me, it's the brotherhood that you see with the guys you work with. Some of it is helping people, also, but a lot of it is just enjoying it, enjoying what you do. You never know what's around the next corner. It's kind of an adrenaline rush."

The son of a volunteer firefighter, Baer said he visited the fire station on occasion growing up with his father, but was not pressured into volunteering. He decided to volunteer when he turned 16.

"My dad was a volunteer fireman and, throughout my childhood, he would take me to the station. It was just kind of a natural thing," Baer said. "I knew that he enjoyed that and he enjoyed helping people through that. He didn't tell me one way or the other. I guess it was a foregone conclusion."

Baer said his son Chris, 18, also is hoping to qualify for work with the Hagerstown Fire Department during testing at the end of the month. Chris Baer, who recently graduated from North Hagerstown High School, was in Ocean City, Md., for Senior Week and was not available for comment.

"I'd love it," Baer said. "When you see your sons pursue a job that's as important as this job, and that you love as much as I love this job, it kind of makes you have a sense of pride."

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