Being the Rookie - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Being the Rookie

Ryan Cody
NewsChannel 10

Amarillo, TX - Every one of the firefighters in the city of Amarillo goes through extensive training to be prepared for the everyday unknown. A preparedness only possible because every one of them was once a rookie.

When we arrived for a 24 hour shift at Amarillo's Central Station, the first person we saw was Kent Keeler. Raising the American flag 15 minutes before his shift began.

"Your told they want you to be the first one working and the last one to quit all the time. Every month it gets a little bit better." As he breaks in to laughter, Keeler mentions, "I mean it's just kind of like walking on egg shells."

Keeler is 10 and a half months in to his rookie year with the Amarillo Fire Department. Just two weeks before his final exam. "The test I have coming up is my 11 month. And that is supposedly the big one."

"His 11 month test will be next month, they will test him over everything. And if you fail that one then you are gone," fellow hoseman Andy Metthan says.

Which is why Keeler spends much of his down time studying in the library.

And that's on top of taking the brunt of playful jokes all day long. "I think if they don't play these jokes on you they probably don't like you as much. So I'm open for it."

The driver of Engine 18, Ryan James says, "It was a scary time. Your rookie year is... Frightening. You have a lot of stress as far as studying to make sure you keep your job."

So while everyone else is hanging out in between calls, Keeler is in the library studying.

And when others are at the store deciding what to make for dinner that night, he's in the library studying.

But when everybody else is responding to an emergency, Kent is right there with them.

Because yes he's a rookie, but he is first and foremost a firefighter.

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