Meet two local heroes from the Denver Fire Department with a heart to serve.
DENVER FIRE DEPARTMENT—TECHNICIAN
Eric Miller always thought that being a firefighter sounded exciting. Originally from Illinois, he grew up watching his uncles fight fires in Chicago and Austin.
“I always idolized them,” Miller says. “Riding along in Chicago, zooming past cars and people waving as we drove to the next call of uncertainty… there was so much excitement and a feeling of being part of making a bad situation better. I was hooked from a young age.”
That impression stuck with him: Today, Miller lives out his dream as a Technician for the Denver Fire Department.
“My responsibilities include everything from doing inventory and gear inspections, to running calls and training others,” Miller says. “I love being the person people can count on to make a situation better. I train and live to put others before myself.”
While his selfless attitude and passion for serving others led Miller to firefighting, he credits his profession for making him a more compassionate and caring person.
“As a firefighter, you see people at their worst moments, their worst days,” he reflects. “By becoming a part of their lives, you learn about their stories. I’ve learned you don’t judge a book by its cover, and you don’t assume people’s stories. 90% of the time you’re wrong. Have understanding, have an open mind and listen to people.”
DENVER FIRE DEPARTMENT—CAPTAIN
Denver Fire Department Captain Michael Pavlich is a busy man. Besides multiple trainings and equipment checks a day, including special operations like Hazardous Material, Rope and Dive Rescue trainings, his fire engine responds to anywhere from 15 to 20 incidents per 24-hour shift. While to many of us that would sound exhausting, the Colorado native wouldn’t have it any other way.
“We’re busy from the time we get in, to when we leave in the morning, but I love being able to help people every day,” Pavlich says, explaining that being able to help people so tangibly is one of the main reasons he was inspired to become a firefighter. Pavlich credits the team at the Denver Fire Department for fostering an atmosphere of service, saying that their talent, dedication and care for those in need are what makes his job so great.
“We help anyone in need, from a civilian who has a flat tire to a medical call where someone could be having a heart attack. And of course, we respond to house fires, sometimes with people trapped inside—and we go in despite the dangers involved,” explains Pavlich.
For the captain, that kind of above-and-beyond approach to service reaches far beyond rescue calls. Because of his considerable leadership skills, the crew at the Denver Fire Department can train at the highest level, ready and able to serve at a moment’s notice. It’s hard to imagine juggling such responsibility, but Pavlich insists his role at the department is an “amazing blessing.”
Pavlich adds humbly, “This is a very challenging position, but it is incredibly rewarding.”