Meet Firefighter John Clooten
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Where are you stationed?
I’m at Station 1 (W. Dayton Street) on the A shift.
Why do you want to be a firefighter and why with the City of Madison?
My passion to serve is one of the reasons I want to be a City of Madison firefighter. I joined the Army after the September 11 attacks and this passion to serve blossomed while I was in the military. To be a part of something greater than myself was something that really stuck with me and is something I have truly missed ever since I left. It felt great to serve at a national level, but it will be even more gratifying to be able to serve and make a direct difference in the community that I belong to. For three years prior to working here, worked for the City of Madison Water Utility. While working for the Water Utility my appreciation for the city grew.
It is also a strong desire of mine to be in a career that challenges me mentally, physically, and emotionally. I know I will encounter all of these challenges with the Madison Fire Department. I fully realize these challenges can only be met if I perform as part of a team. This is something I learned to do in the military, and I am excited I will not have to face these challenges and tasks alone. This camaraderie that is part of the teamwork is something that I have really missed about being in the Army.
Finally, I want to be a City of Madison firefighter because when I was in high school I had an experience where EMTs were required to provide aid. The care and compassion they displayed that day is something that has stuck with me ever since. I have a very strong desire to provide that same care and compassion I witnessed to the community that I not only live in, but that I have grown to love.
What has been the most rewarding part of your experience so far?
So far, going through the academy with my classmates has been the most rewarding part of my experience. We faced a lot of physical and mental challenges throughout the academy and pulled together as a class to meet and accomplish those challenges.
Now that you've graduated the Academy, what do you look forward to the most?
I look forward to further learning my job and developing as a firefighter so I can be a better asset to my crew, the City of Madison Fire Department, and the people we serve in the City of Madison.
Looking back at the Fire Academy, what was the most challenging element?
I came into the academy with no past fire experience, so the most challenge element of the academy was getting up to speed with my peers who came in with experience. Luckily we had the best instructors you could ask for, and our classmates with prior experience helped get those of us with no experience up to speed and ready to hit the ground running.
What advice would you give to someone hoping to join the MFD?
If you don’t get selected while going through the hiring process the first, second, or third time, etc., DON’T GIVE UP. A lot of people don’t get hired on their first try, so don’t let that get you down. Keep a positive attitude, stay in top physical shape, and get involved with your community.