Volunteer firefighter promotes to engineer

Fire Chief Brad L. Lopez, left, promotes Justin Rominger to a Winters Fire Department Engineer at a ceremony on Oct. 6. Courtesy photo

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While doing the bare minimum seems to be the societal standard these days, Justin Rominger has gone above beyond for the Winters Fire Department. With his new certification as an engineer, he’s redefining what it means to be a volunteer firefighter and the impact they can make.

Rominger was born and raised in Winters. When he moved back to town a few years ago, he thought of ways he could give back to the community that raised him. He opted to become a volunteer firefighter alongside his full-time position in agriculture.

“It’s been a good experience. Everybody at the department has helped me learn since joining,” Rominger said. “It’s similar to farming because you’re always presented with unique challenges. I really like that, and it’s rewarding. It’s the little things that make the difficult calls, late nights and training all worthwhile.”

Rominger would not remain idle in his service to the community, however. He took it upon himself to undergo over 80 hours of training to become a certified driver/pump operator for the Winters FD.

“Training to become a driver/operator is extensive. They have to attend a minimum of 40 hours of state fire training to be a certified driver. Then another 40 hour component that certifies them as a pump operator,” said Fire Chief Brad L. Lopez. “This demonstrates he’s become a leader among the organization and other volunteers have watched what he’s done and strived to learn new things. He’s an outstanding member of the community and we’re fortunate to have him as part of the team.”       

Rominger was officially promoted on Oct. 6 at an association meeting where he was recognized for his efforts and given the title of engineer. A veritable Swiss Army volunteer firefighter, Rominger still performs a litany of other functions.

“After joining the fire department, I wanted to make myself as valuable as possible. I didn’t want to stop at the basics of firefighting. It’s in those classes, studying and repetitive training that ensures when you’re hoping out of the fire truck that everything is second nature,” Rominger said about the hours of training he put himself through. “Besides the training, I’m a sponge when I’m working. I’m watching the chiefs on how they do things, why they do things and then ask them questions if I don’t understand something.”

With all the praise and recognition for his accomplishment, it’s notable that Rominger wants none of it. Ironically, it’s his selfless temperament that’s earned him the praise in the first place.

“It means a lot to me. The reason I joined the WFD is because Winters is a great community and supported me since I was a kid,” Rominger said about how much firefighting meant to him. “Volunteer firefighting was always something I wanted to do, and the WFD has been supportive ever since day one. I appreciate they were willing to teach a farm kid how to be a firefighter and I’m forever grateful for that and to keep putting in hours.”

To learn more about the Winters volunteer firefighter opportunity, stop by the fire station and ask what sort of opportunities await or visit http://www.wintersfire.org/.

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