The Student News Site of Pella High School


The Student News Site of Pella High School


The Student News Site of Pella High School


The Future First Responders of Pella

Senior Oliver Wood’s Uncle Paul Johnson and Grandfather Larry Johnson were first responders in Cresont, Oklahoma. They were both fire chiefs and were a huge inspirations to Wood.

As the 2024 year comes to end, PHS Seniors are deciding what they would like to do with their life. This year, we have multiple students who plan on becoming first responders. 

There are many different reasons for becoming a first responder. According to Kustom Signals, Inc. when children are younger, they tend to look up to people who are viewed to have an important job and view them as a hero. Many students are also inspired by their family members. It’s no different for early graduate Oliver Wood, who wants to become a firefighter.

“My family has a healthy amount of firefighters,” said Wood. “My great uncle was a fire chief. My biggest inspiration, my papa, was a fire chief in the same department. Then his son, my uncle, was a fire chief. Finally, I have a cousin working at that same department.”

Haley Rowe found inspiration from people that treated her in the past. When she was younger, she experienced quite a few medical problems, and was surrounded by medical personnel quite often. She stated that she has always liked to help people, and being a nurse would allow her to do just that.

“During one of my hospital stays I had an amazing nurse who was super kind and joyful. Even though the floor was busy, she would always take her time to do my care and have a conversation with me. She helped me to see the effect that a nurse can have on a patient and inspired me to become a nurse,” Rowe said. “After one procedure I told my parents I wanted to be one of those people who helped me in a time of need to feel better. I have always loved helping people and being a nurse would allow me to directly help patients recover from disease or illness.”

Jason Stursma is going to become a police officer once he completes college. His grandfather was the Chief of Police in West Des Moines, and he always found criminal justice interesting.

“I’m really not sure what made me choose to go into the criminal justice field,” said Stursma. “My only two reasons are that people get away with a lot of the actions they choose to make, good or bad, and I want to enforce the bad and appraise the good. There’s also really good pay in this field.”

People who go into such a high-demanding work environment have to truly love their job. Being a first responder has gotten more difficult since 2020. America has had to deal with COVID-19, a worldwide pandemic and according to Pew Research Center, a rise in crime rates. While these jobs can be physically taxing, Wood states that he still thinks he would love the job.

“Firefighting is a career like no other. Name another career where you get to experience different things every shift, get four days off in a row (depending on your department’s schedule), help people, bond with your fellow firefighters to a level where you love them like family, get paid to workout, get paid to eat, sometimes even get paid to sleep, and look good while doing it,” said Wood. “You can’t.”

While these jobs can be emotionally draining and physically challenging, they each have something they are looking forward to. For Wood, Rowe and Stursma, they all said that their favorite part is helping those who need it.

“Helping people is my favorite part of the job. The camaraderie, fire trucks, stories, and pure adrenaline are all cool,” said Wood. “At the end of the day, the thing that helps me sleep at night and feel accomplished is knowing that you took initiative and helped a person in need.”

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About the Contributor
Faith Vandenberg, Executive Print Editor
Faith is a junior this year, and this is her third year on the staff. She likes to write features, reviews, and opinion articles. She also does a lot of photography for the staff. This is her first year as the Executive Editor of the Pelladium. Outside of school she enjoys working, reading, and spending time with her friends.        

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