SHELBY — You might say Caulin Finnegan has been preparing for fire service his whole life.
The 26-year-old grew up in and around the Shelby Fire Department, where his father, Capt. Brian Finnegan, has worked for nearly 30 years.
“Almost all my captains and senior firefighters know me from the day I was born,” said Caulin, who officially joined the department on Friday.
Despite growing up around fire service, Caulin said the biggest lesson he learned from his father and others has nothing to do with scaling buildings or administering medical aid.
It’s about how to act after the dust settles.
“It’s important to stay humble and remember to keep learning,” Caulin said. “You have a very large presence in your community and you’re thought of very highly.
“You need to stick to your roots, don’t forget where you came from. You’re a normal citizens that just happens to help people out.”
Finnegan was sworn into the Shelby Fire Department Friday afternoon. He said was ecstatic and excited to get started.
“I think the decision to come back to my hometown department was a good move,” he said.
Caulin graduated from Shelby High School in 2014. He’s been a volunteer firefighter in Shelby for nearly six years and spent the last 13 months as a firefighter with the Bucyrus City Fire Department.
“It was kind of sad leaving my current department of Bucyrus,” he said. “The guys were great and they taught me a lot, but I think ultimately with how my life path is going, this will be the best decision.”
Caulin holds a Firefighter II certification, the highest available from the Ohio Fire Academy, and a paramedic license. He said he wants the citizens of Shelby to know he is prepared to serve them well.
“I’m definitely ready for this position,” he said. “I’m going to give back to my city everything that I think they deserve and give them the best care possible.”
During a brief swearing-in ceremony, Mayor Steve Schag called it a special day for the city. He said the younger Finnegan went through a “rigorous” hiring process.
“I think it’s noteworthy and commendable that a young man wants to follow in the footsteps of his father,” he said. “We’re thankful you’re carrying on that tradition of public service.”
Schag also read a special prayer for first responders.
“You are in my daily prayers and I’m sure many others’ in this community,” he said.
Caulin’s parents, Brian and Carol, were also in attendance.
“Caulin is very level-headed. He’s always been very determined. He has a very gracious, gentle heart,” Carol said. “He’s always wanted to serve our community and take care of people so I’m very excited to see him do that for the hometown he grew up in.”
“We’re pretty proud of him,” Brian added. “He’s a paramedic; I’m not even a paramedic.”
Caulin said earning his paramedic license was especially challenging. While both EMTs and paramedics can perform CPR, check a patient’s vitals and administer some medications, paramedics have much more training that encompasses anatomy, physiology and even cardiology.
“You learn how to look at a heart monitor, see what’s going on,” Caulin explained. “That was my biggest challenge, learning all the different things that come into play when it comes to your heart and making sure that I understand them.”