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Paramedic lives his dream

January 2, 2018 GMT

Not everyone can say they’re living their dream.

But Jarrod Bowen, firefighter/paramedic with the Katy Fire Department, can. “It’s pretty awesome,” he said.

“Growing up as a little boy and seeing the fire truck go by, that’s what started it all,” Bowen said.

He grew up in Lampasas and is the first in his family to enter the firefighting service. He first served with the Austin County Emergency Medical Service and a private service for a year before coming to Katy three years ago where he “got lucky” and got a job with the fire department.

Recently, Katy American Legion Post 164 honored him at its third annual banquet and awards ceremony Dec. 2 at the Elks Club in Katy as Paramedic of the Year.

“I wasn’t expecting that. I’m very thankful,” said Bowen, 28. “I work really hard. I don’t work to get Paramedic of the Year. I work to do my job.”

When on duty, firefighters/paramedics maintain the station and the fire trucks every day, he said. “You’re only as good as they firefighter next to you.”

Bowen said, “I want to continue to do my best and to grow as a firefighter and paramedic for the City of Katy.” He recently took the test to become a driver/operator with the department.

“We train around the clock,” said Bowen. Eighteen months of classroom study and in-the-field training are required, for example, to advance from basic emergency medical technician to paramedic.

Attitude and desire to learn are among the qualities Katy Fire Chief Russell Wilson considered when nominating Bowen for the award. “He stands out in service above and beyond,” said the chief. Selecting Bowen and Michael Ondruch, firefighter/paramedic, as Firefighter of the Year were a real challenge because the department has so many deserving personnel, Wilson said. “Both are great young men.”

“There are no routine calls,” said Bowen. “Every call is different.” A rollover one day might involve no injuries and another day five people could be injured, some seriously and require that Memorial Hermann Life Flight helicopter be called, Bowen said.

“We’re seeing people on the worst days of their life,” he said. But the person who stops to thank them helps to make it all worthwhile.

“Not every day is a good day,” he said. But he’s found that putting a smile on his face serves to encourage others.

Among the challenges he said is helping to mold young people entering the fire service.

When not working, Bowen goes home to spend time with his family. He enjoys fishing and attending football and baseball games with his dad.