Friday, December 27, 2013
The last football player in Coach John Bagwell’s class, Tian Griffieth, 29, of Summerville graduated from Fort Dorchester High School and went on first to Trident Tech and then to get his BS in Pre Law from Stayer University in North Charleston.
He volunteerd on the rescue squad in Charleston County and as a volunteer firefighter at Pine Ridge FD and then he met Summerville Fire Chief Richard Waring at a pubic education event.
Waring had a big influence on him, he says, and gave him the opportunity to volunteer at SFD.
“After the Charleston 9 there was an urgency around here to volunteer, to give back.”
It was the catalyst that changed his life direction from law to serving his community as a firefighter.
He has been at SFD a year this September…six months as a volunteer and six months as a paid firefighter.
He has his national Firefighter II certification and is trained as a Haz Mat tech.
He says he really enjoys the work and hopes, someday, to make Battalion Chief.
“I mean the chief [Waring] is only 40 he’s going to build a great department and I would like to be part of that.”
He says he doesn’t dwell on the bad days but on making sure there is a level of dignity for everything, even if someone dies.
He says work, though, is pretty much instant gratification.
He is with Ladder Truck 1 and he is tasked with the captain.
“We initially do a building search before we even get water on the fire and we address entry and egress points” for the rest of the firefighters.
He takes pleasure in seeing others promoted and knowing that he works for a chief “who really has your back, even with your shortcomings….”
He and his wife Eva are parents to Tian, Jr., 8, Tristian, 6 and Myla, 3.
When he is not working at SFD he is volunteering at Pine Ridge and working part time at the Citadel as a captain in the Commandant’s office.
He enjoys watching the NE Patriots, Boston Red Sox and the Lakers. He is both a Clemson and Gamecocks fan.
He loves playing with his kids and doing fun things with them like building a campfire and toasting marshmallows.
“I will be married 10 years in May,” he grins.
He and wife enjoy going out to eat, going to the movies and to ballgames.
However, he says, life is pretty much the fire dept.
His life goal is to put his kids through college and continue with his own education at the fire academy.
He says his wife loves the 24/48 shift he works as he gets two days off every 24 hours.
“If I have a bad day at work, I have two days to get over it.”