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Paul Hottinger - Firefighter runs on many calls

April 23, 2006|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

FUNKSTOWN - Paul Hottinger responded to 314 emergencies in 2005 - the most of any Funkstown Volunteer Fire Co. firefighter.

"I'm usually runner-up," he said.

Hottinger works in construction full time, and usually is able to make it to the station by late afternoon. Most days, he is at the station by 4 p.m.

Because he works outside on his full-time job, rain means he can spend the day at the fire station.

"Any free time, I'm here," he said.

It was his devotion to the station and his fellow firefighters that prompted members to elect him to the post of fire chief in December.

Hottinger, 36, has been a volunteer at the Funkstown station since 1996, when he moved from Hagerstown.

Three years before that, he started firefighting in Leitersburg.

"It's something I always wanted to do," he said. "It's the brotherhood, the friendship and the respect for doing our job and being congratulated by the community."

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Several members of Hottinger's family have been firefighters, and he said his interest in doing that kind of work was sparked at an early age when he tagged along with others on trips to the fire station.

When he's not responding to emergencies, Hottinger spends time at the fire station helping younger firefighters with their training courses.

He handles most of the behind-the-scenes business of the fire station, including sending letters to other departments, updating the map books and keeping tabs on everyday business. He also attends meetings with other fire chiefs and Washington County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association meetings.

Hottinger, who has two young children, Dalton, 9, and Dawson, 6, said he also enjoys teaching children about fire prevention and fire safety.

He said he often goes to Washington County schools or local churches to explain to children what to do if there is a fire and to give them pointers on how to prevent a fire from breaking out.

Hottinger also volunteers to give station tours to young children.

"They always want to see the fire engine," he said. "And we teach them how to properly use smoke detectors and how to be safe."

Q&A

Name - Paul Hottinger

Address - Funkstown

Date of birth- July 6, 1969

Occupation - Works a full-time construction job, is a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician, and is Funkstown Volunteer Fire Co. fire chief.

Most notable achievement - Becoming fire chief.

Your proudest moment - Responding to the most fire calls in one year at Funkstown Volunteer Fire Co. I responded to 314 calls in 2005.

Who is the person you most admire and why? - Both of my parents for being there for me whenever I needed assistance or guidance, for getting me where I am today.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received? Who gave it to you? - To just do your best. If you do your best every day, you will succeed.

What is the next goal you would like to achieve? - Would like to work on enlisting more active volunteers at Funkstown Volunteer Fire Co.

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