Oberlin fire chief: OHS students need to follow their dreams


By Valerie Urbanik - vurbanik@civitasmeida.com



<p style="text-align: right;">Photos by Valerie Urbnaik | Oberlin News-Tribune <p style="text-align: left;">Fire chief Bob Hanmer talks to Oberlin High School students involved in the 100 Men of Lorain County program about becoming a firefighter and why he loves his job.

Photos by Valerie Urbnaik | Oberlin News-Tribune

Fire chief Bob Hanmer talks to Oberlin High School students involved in the 100 Men of Lorain County program about becoming a firefighter and why he loves his job.


Photos by Valerie Urbnaik | Oberlin News-Tribune

Fire chief Bob Hanmer talks to Oberlin High School students involved in the 100 Men of Lorain County program about becoming a firefighter and why he loves his job.


If you find a job you love, it won’t feel like work, fire chief Bob Hanmer says.

That’s what he told nine Oberlin High School students last Thursday in a 100 Men of Lorain County event.

On his way to becoming the head of Oberlin’s fire department, Hanmer attended the Oberlin Schools, played baseball and football, and was involved in many school organizations.

“I always wanted to be a firefighter,” he said. Hanmer’s father was an assistant fire chief so he was always at the station hanging out with the firefighters and helping them prepare the fleet.

However, his parents wanted him to become a doctor so that’s what he pursued at Eastern Kentucky University. Hanmer did not want to be a doctor so he returned home and took classes at Lorain County Community College.

“Deep down I always wanted to be a firefighter,” he said.

He took classes in contracting to learn how structures are built and in marketing because Hanmer believes “you’re always selling yourself.”

In 1995, he received his first job as a firefighter, hired part-time for the city of Oberlin.

Hanmer started taking classes as an emergency medical technician, a paramedic, and a fireman.

Carlisle Township offered him his first full-time job as a firefighter in 2001. He became the department’s training officer, started writing grants for new equipment, and worked his way up to lieutenant.

Hanmer said you always have to start at the bottom of the pyramid and work your way up. “You’re not going to walk out that door and be at the top,” he said.

In 2008, Hanmer sought out a post as chief for Carlisle Township but was not offered the job. “It didn’t get me down too much,” he said. “I just kept working on that pyramid. We always have long-term and short-term goals.”

Hanmer continued to work for the Oberlin fire department and became the battalion chief in 2008. He was hired as Oberlin’s fire chief in June 2015 after former chief Dennis Kirin retired.

The new chief encouraged OHS students to get into the job they want to do. “Whatever you guys want to do, do it,” he said.

Hanmer reminded them it may take baby steps before you get to where you want to be but “ask questions and work your way up,” he said.

Education has been a key component in Hanmer’s success. He continuously takes classes to stay up-to-date on what’s changing and improving for firefighters. “I want to make sure our guys know as much as possible,” Hanmer said.

One student told the chief he has a lot of respect for what he does and another asked why Hanmer enjoys his job so much.

Hanmer said the most satisfying part of his job is when he saves a life and months later he sees the person and they shake his hand. “It’s a bond,” he said with a smile stretching across his face.

“My greatest fear is I don’t know enough to save people,” Hanmer said, explaining why he is always taking classes. “It’s important to know as much as possible and to get the word out to you. Fire prevention is huge.”

Albert Miller, Oberlin College associate professor and pastor of the Oberlin House of the Lord Fellowship, will speak to the students on Feb. 18 as part of the 100 Men of Lorain County initiative.

Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @ValUrbanik on Twitter.

Photos by Valerie Urbnaik | Oberlin News-Tribune

Fire chief Bob Hanmer talks to Oberlin High School students involved in the 100 Men of Lorain County program about becoming a firefighter and why he loves his job.

http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/44/2016/01/web1_IMG_6301.jpg

Photos by Valerie Urbnaik | Oberlin News-Tribune

Fire chief Bob Hanmer talks to Oberlin High School students involved in the 100 Men of Lorain County program about becoming a firefighter and why he loves his job.

Photos by Valerie Urbnaik | Oberlin News-Tribune

Fire chief Bob Hanmer talks to Oberlin High School students involved in the 100 Men of Lorain County program about becoming a firefighter and why he loves his job.

http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/44/2016/01/web1_IMG_6302.jpg

Photos by Valerie Urbnaik | Oberlin News-Tribune

Fire chief Bob Hanmer talks to Oberlin High School students involved in the 100 Men of Lorain County program about becoming a firefighter and why he loves his job.

By Valerie Urbanik

vurbanik@civitasmeida.com