Friday, January 17, 2014
Captain Brent Melcher, 35, of Hanahan has been with Summerville Fire Department for 13 years.
Growing up in Ridgeville, he knew he wanted to have a direct impact on people’s lives. He says he went to Trident Technical College for a bit. He wasn’t sure what he wanted to do but he knew what he didn’t want to do.
“I didn’t want to do the same thing every day. My dad wanted to show me what that was like so he made me work with him for six months … it was factory work.
“My dad did nothing for himself, it was all for his family …that was a lesson he taught me.”
So, when there was an open spot available at the fire department, he applied. “They gave me an interview and I got the job. SFD took a chance on me.”
Thirteen years later, he has risen in rank and trained in structural, confined space, rope rescue, instructor, officer, hazmat, extrication, and RIT, and he is on the Special Ops Team.
He says any fire emergency that has to do with kids would fall into his worst experiences on the job, “or something where there is nothing I can do to help ... I hate feeling helpless.
“We worked a gunshot victim, and worked and worked and worked … and slowly watched him deteriorate. He looked to us for help and there was nothing we could do.”
His best experience? “Any time someone says, ‘Thank you.’
“We don’t expect thanks, but it is always a great surprise when they take the time to say ‘Thank you.’
“When you can help someone, you feel so good. It is the most rewarding job … putting out fires, helping people, rescuing animals.”
Melcher says his professional goal is to go all the way to the top. “The sky is always the limit. We have a great chief now and he is only a couple of years older than I am, but someday he will retire.”
Melcher and his wife Brooke, a teacher, became parents on Nov. 23 to a little boy they named Luke. Luke came home to Tito, a mastiff-Pit Bull mix who Melcher says is like a huge baby … ”a three-year-old.”
Melcher enjoys hunting, fishing and working out. He does firefighting combat challenges as a solo. He is a member of the Summerville X-Fit, cross fitness, and spends a lot of time outdoors.
He enjoys playing football, basketball and volleyball and “watches sports constantly.”
“I do 95 percent of the cooking and I clean. I don’t read as much as I should but that will change … there will be lots of children’s books read.”
His life goal is to “raise a great family and look back on my life and see it was a great one.”