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Eagle Mountain, Utah, United States
My name is Lauren, and I live in the bubble. I am wife to Marshall, the biggest BYU fan in the world; and mother to Carly, our big girl, and Wes, our wild man, and Calvin, our new addition. I graduated BYU with a degree in Social Work, and I went forth to serve at LDS Family Services. I like scrapbooking and going out to eat at nice restaurants. I am fascinated by new cleaning products at the grocery store, so I have to shop in wide circles around the perimeter to avoid the temptation to buy. I love chocolate.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

SLC Fire 2011

So, I don't blog when I'm stressed.  I start posting about things in everyday life, but this big stress follows me around and creeps into my posts.  So I just take a break.  Like when I first found out I was pregnant with Wes, and took a 4 month blogging break.  I just can't keep secrets, or keep my emotions to myself.  So I have to take a break entirely.

Heaven knows the people I've harassed on the phone for the last 2 months know that.  I think every conversation has started with "Ugh...:::whine:::...I have no patience...when are we going to knoooow?....why can't they just tell us he's hiiiiiiired??"

So today's the day!!!  The day I've been waiting to blog for 2 months, and the day our family has been waiting for for like, 5 years. 

Marshall has been hired by Salt Lake City Fire Department!!!!!!

So sit down, pull up a chair, get comfy, and let me tell you a story about why I think my husband is completely amazing.

A little over 5 years ago, in December 2005, Marshall was finishing up his semester at BYU.  He was studying psychology.  When we got married, he knew he wanted to become a therapist.  The plan was easy: finish a BS in psych, go to grad school, and then become rich.  Easy right?

Well, one day during finals week, Marshall came home and told me that he didn't want me to harass him about picking grad schools to apply to anymore.  In fact, he didn't even want to keep studying psychology anymore.  Ummm, okay.  My little newish-wed world was thrown for a loop (if only I knew how much of a loop it'd be!)

Me, being the ever supportive wife: "Well, okay, you can pick a new major.  What do you want to be when you grow up?"
Him, sheepish: "It's dumb.  You won't believe me."
Me, impatient: "Out with it!"
Him: "Well, ever since high school, I wanted to be a firefighter like my wrestling coaches.  A lot of them were firefighters."

So Marsh had a quarter-life crisis, and I encouraged him to do what he needed to.  I honestly half thought it'd be a phase.  I mean, aren't firefighters all big dumb guys who can't get into college, so they just do what they can?  Certainly not the kind of people Marshall would have much in common with....I mean the guy had a scholarship to BYU!

I started googling that night.  Looking back, it now seems silly just how little I knew about something I feel like a complete pro at now.  I remember reading firefighting was really competitive.  Like thousands of applicants for 10-20 positions.  And that you should go to academy yourself before being hired and getting all certified so that you're competitive once you apply.  And, OMG, did you know that firefighters had to be EMTs?

Yeah, like I said, I knew NOTHING.

But luckily, one of the best fire science programs in the US just happened to be located in Provo, so Marshall got all transferred over to UVU and started his prerequisites.  And then, the unexpected happened.  He loved it!  He did a semester and was completely looking forward to the next! 

So we were committed.  Therapist was officially no longer the path our family would take. 

Marshall finished fire academy in April 2007, and the lucky thing was that with all of his generals done at BYU, he magically had 2 associates degrees.  He then did some summers of wildland (just awful!) and started working as an EMT at Gold Cross.  That was our temporary plan while he started interviewing with fire departments.

Ah the hiring process!  A new thing I got to learn all about.  Fire departments have a multi step process to create a list of applicants. 

First step: the written test.  Like mini SAT with some fire based questions thrown in.  But a lot of grass:green, sky:____.  Marsh always passed these easily. 

Next step: the top 100 or so applicants move on to the oral board.  This is an interview in front of a panel of 3 or 4 firefighters who rank you on a scale of 1-5 for each of 5 questions.  Each person gets the same questions, and then you are scored against everyone else answering those same questions. 

Next is a physical agility test.  Here's a link to a typical CPAT examination.  It's pretty intense, but Marshall has done these a million times.  So it's no worry.

After this, the applicants are ranked on a list.  You know, 1 through 100 or whatever.  When the department is prepared to hire a new hire class of candidates, those applicants at the top of the list are called in for a final chief's interview.  Usually the department will invite 2-3 applicants for each position available, so 20 to 30 guys if there are 10 slots open.  You meet with the top 2 or 3 officials at the department, and it's a little less formal than the oral board.  They are just trying to get to know you, and I don't believe they are scoring your answers.  You also do a background check, IQ test, psych profile, uniform fitting, etc, at this stage of the process.  A complete physical and drug screening.

Then come the job offers.  Marshall has made it to the top 20 of hiring lists many times.  But with budget cuts, many places haven't hired in years.  Or hire just a couple guys.  He has made it to the chiefs interview 3 times.  The second time, he was given a conditional job offer as an alternate.  Meaning we went to orientation, met all the higher ups, got all excited, but ultimately they didn't have the budget to take him into the academy, so at the last minute he wasn't able to be hired.  His 3rd chief's interview was this month, with SLC Fire.  And this time, the offer isn't for alternate.  It's the real deal! 

These last 5 years have been rough.  These hiring processes are done just once every 2 years, and each step is like a month apart from the last.  There have been many tears shed, and many times we've wondered if we made the right choice to pursue our dreams instead of the more stable option. 

Today when he finally got that call.....  I just can't explain it.  Tears.  Lots and lots of tears.  Carly keeps asking me why I'm sad, and I have to explain that I am sooo overcome with happiness.  I am happy that it finally happened.  Happy that we stuck with the process.  Happy that Marshall is finally being recognized for his hard work.  Overwhelmed with gratitude.  There are so so many people who never get the call, never get the job offer. 

But mostly, I swell with pride.  How many people do you know who actually follow their dreams?  Who actually do a job that they love, who picked a career wholly based on what they wanted to do day in a day out- not just on salary or obligation?  Not too many people.  I am so proud of the courage that Marshall had to walk away from BYU and pursue his dream, even though it seemed crazy.  SO proud of the example he is setting for our children.  We always tell Carly that she can be whatever she wants to be when she grows up.  Literally anything!  This week, it's a mountain climber and a mommy.  And if that is what she really wants to do, I'll do everything in my power to support her to accomplish that.  There are no ceilings on our dreams.  You pick a goal- a career- even not knowing the first step to get there, and you can achieve it!  With enough persistence and dedication, you can literally be whatever you want to be!  I am so proud of Marshall for setting a clear example for our children that pursuing your dreams is realistic.

So congratulations, my dear husband.  It's been a long road.  But we did it!  And I love you for your courage and dedication.  You are the best husband and father, and you are going to be the best firefighter that Salt Lake City has ever seen!


Malinda Jane Sieg said...

Wonderful, wonderful news!!!!

Heather Thorup said...

Good for him and your family yay!!! My Grandpa was a firefighter but I'm not sure how competitive it was back then. I hope it ends up being a great thing for you guys.

Maranda said...

I am so happy for you guys!! Like seriously, I can't even tell you how happy I am. I know you have been working, trying, hoping and praying for this for so long and it's finally here! I'm so proud of Marshall too and so happy for your family. What an exciting time. You guys deserve this! Ryan filled out a reference form for him a little while ago, so we like to think that we had a hand in helping you guys get this :) But really, we are so excited. Congratulations!!

Jamie said...

Congrats! I had no idea it was such an ordeal to get hired! WOW! So happy for your family!

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