Select group of Rockford Firefighters spend free time at local hospitals

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6 Rockford Firefighters all have one thing in common. Ranging in time with the department from just one year, all the way to 17 years, these guys have seen it all.

“It’s definitely given me a lot of resources to fall back on.” said Peter Turcato, the rookie of the group, with only one year on the department.

“We get to do the down and dirty stuff on the streets to help patients, and then I get to follow it, and end it.” said Jim DeShazo, one of the veterans out of the 6 men.

There’s a reason Jim says they get to follow through on the patients, you see, the 6 of them aren’t just firefighters. They’re nurses too, all working at various hospitals throughout Rockford for decades.

Which makes their lives a little busier than most.

“We work holidays, weekends, birthdays, our kids birthdays, so we miss a lot of that stuff.” said Chad Callison, a flight nurse with OSF Saint Anthony for the last 21 years.

However, doing both jobs at once has some perks.

“I already know the situation before assessing them or looking at their chart, I already know what the complaint was, I know what’s done.” said Chris Beaman.

“Sometimes it’s a comfort level for the patient too”, said Chris Nelson,  “they know ok I know this person, and families once you build a rapport with them, they can trust you a little bit more as well.”

“There are people I’ve worked with extensively at the hospital, but then I go to their homes on a 911 call and I’ve already got a rapport with them because I’ve been working with them before.” said Brian Park.

To them, that extra level of connection is what makes it all worth it.

“I transported a patient here a few weeks ago, and I transported their mother prior to that and that was years ago.”, said Callison, “and as soon as they saw me, they remembered that. So, it’s a good feeling to see when people come back and thank you.”

“We all got into this because it was you know, something we were driven to do, we were passionate about, I think that it’s just another thing. Instead of going out and playing golf, or hanging with our buddies, we go out and do this with our free time.” said Park.

“You get to see how much effect, what we do in the pre-hospital setting affects their outcomes, and how appreciative they are of the service we provide them.” said Beaman.

Having that special shared bond between the 6 of them is just another extra perk.

“We all kind of understand you know the frustrations, and also the things that are satisfying about both jobs, and I think no one can quite relate to it like we can.” said Park.

The Rockford Fire Department will be accepting applications to join the department from February 1st until March 17th. For more information about applying, you can go to

Nicole Stein

Nicole Stein

Morning News Anchor

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