DELMAR, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Not for nothing has Delmar native Aidan McPhillips been absolutely fascinated by fire trucks since he could grab for a helmet. His dad John first started serving when Aidan was a toddler and now that childhood wonder is paying off as they work hard, side by side at the Elsmere Fire Department.
“Aidan’s been climbing on fire trucks since he was about three or four, and now I’m riding next to him in the cab to a call. So that’s been a really interesting progression for me to see,” says John.
Since the eighth grade, Aidan has been volunteering next to his dad through the Junior Explorers Program. From tapping fire hydrants to lifting ladders to people in need, Aidan’s are among the many hands that make light work at calls around the Capital Region.
“I’ve actually dragged [my dad] out to more calls than I think he’d go out to himself, because after nine o’clock I can’t respond by myself, so he’s kind of my chauffeur. So I drag him out of bed some nights to go to calls,” Aidan explains to NEWS10’s Mikhaela Singleton.
Aidan’s commitment to serving his community now earns him the Gerard J. Buckenmeyer Volunteer Scholarship from the Firefighters Association of the State of New York. He’s one of only 25 volunteers around the state to be chosen this year.
John says as he prepares to send Aidan off to college, he’s very proud others recognize his son the way he does.
“He looks great in the uniform,” John says while looking at Aiden proudly. “He fits the part. Not only the way he looks, he fits it the way he approaches life, his size-up of situations, and his overall commitment to family, friends, and the community. I’m proud of what he’s done, and it was really all on him.”
“You can’t fix everything, someone loses their house or their car, but you can try to make it just a little bit better for them,” Aidan says of why he wants to continue helping his community.
Aidan plans to attend Norwich University in Virginia this coming Fall to study criminal justice. He’s also already set his sights on his next goal after college. He says he thinks the fire department has taught him valuable lessons he can take to the Army.
“Responsibility and leadership. You’re responsible for first yourself, but then also your partner and making sure both of you go home at the end of the day,” he says.