Casey Baugh is the newest member of the Harker Heights Fire Department.
Baugh, 22, was born in LaGrange and moved with his family to West when he was 5 years old.
Growing up in a small town, Baugh joined his young friends as they dreamed their way through the magical list of what they wanted to be when they grew up. Would they be firemen, policemen, astronauts or doctors? Baugh said he didn’t get serious about firefighting until he was a freshman in high school.
“I never deeply looked into this career until I began to idolize the people who are in this line of work,” he said. “Through some friends, I began to find out more about the profession and lifestyle and fell it love with it.”
Achieving his goal was a difficult trip for Baugh, but he knew he made the right decision because doors of opportunity continued to open.
He graduated from the fire academy in 2010 and continued his training at McClellan College, eventually enrolling in emergency medical technician school at McClellan and then training in paramedicine.
He received his degree Tuesday, which allows him to be a licensed paramedic. It took him 2½ years to complete all the required training.
Baugh said what attracted him to Harker Heights is that he already knew several of the guys who work at the Central Fire Station.
“I knew this is where I wanted to be because they always talked highly of the department,” he said. “They welcomed me and I felt at home.”
Baugh’s first official day on duty as a Harker Heights Fire Department firefighter/paramedic was April 17, the one-year anniversary of the explosion in West.
Justin Lewis, fellow firefighter/paramedic, is Baugh’s field training officer.
“We sit in on a rookie’s phase of a new person coming in,” he said. “We’re happy to have him because he’s going to be a real asset.”
Since on duty, the types of calls that Baugh responded to have been a large brush fire, a structure fire and 50 medical calls aboard Medic I.
“You don’t have to tell him things twice,” said Aaron Dunnam, firefighter/paramedic and Baugh’s shift mate. “He has a good base of knowledge due to his educational preparation for the job.”