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While the two newest members of the Wapakoneta Fire Department have similar personalities, they started their lives in different towns, attended rival high schools and arrived at their decision to be a firefighter in different manners.
But Kevin Bellman and Cody Wycuff also have one other thing in common â€” they just want to help people and make a difference in their community. Their divergent paths crossed this summer when these two men, with similar personalities, were hired by Wapakoneta Fire Chief Kendall Krites.
Bellman, 26, who grew up in Putnam County and graduated from Ottawa-Glandorf High School, said while growing up a couple of his Boy Scout leaders were members of the local fire department. Their enthusiasm piqued his interest. That melded with his desire to help others.
â€śI decided I wanted to become a firefighter and paramedic because I wanted to help people and I wanted to make a difference in the world,â€ť Bellman, who has a striking resemblance to a young Matthew Modine, said. â€śI started in EMS and EMS did a lot with the fire department and I became involved with the fire department.â€ť
He applied at several different fire department, but he welcomed the news of finding a job in Wapakoneta because he already knew a â€śhandful of the guys with the department.â€ť
At present, Bellman is working swing shift with the Wapakoneta Fire Department, so he is working 10 to 12 hours with each shift and working a full 24-hour shift when needed.
â€śI work with everybody and everybody has been very helpful on the fire side of it because I came here from the EMS side of it,â€ť Bellman said. â€śThey are all very helpful, they go out of their way to help me understand things and show me whatever I need to learn. If I have questions, they always help me with the answer.â€ť
After being hired, he attended additional classes in firefighting and is now on active duty.
His interest in construction and carpentry should help at the fire station since many of the upgrades and remodeling projects have been completed by the firefighters themselves.
Bellman, 26, who has two brothers, Jeff and Nick, and two sisters, Katie and Kim, has been involved in carpentry and construction for the past 12 years.
Wycuff grew up between Wapakoneta and Uniopolis and graduated from Wapakoneta High School.
Wycuff, 22, said he always wanted to be a police officer or a firefighter as a child, but he decided to study nursing in high school. He returned to his dream after one year in college.
â€śAfter I went to college for year, I came back for the summer and I wanted to get involved in my community and started volunteering with the Uniopolis Fire Department and that is where my interest and passion for firefighting started,â€ť Wycuff said.
The son of Lori Anderson and Charles Wycuff said he felt it was important to give back to the communities where he grew up. He has one brother, Nathan Fisher.
â€śI like being able to help the communities I grew up in (Wapakoneta and Uniopolis) and that is very important to me,â€ť Wycuff said. â€śI also like coming to work and knowing that every day will be different, you never know what each day is going to bring.â€ť
LIke Bellman, Wycuff said his colleagues have been â€śreally friendly and have been great about helping me out and learning their ways and learning more about fire and EMS in Wapakoneta.â€ť
Having worked with other rescue squad services, Wycuff said he enjoys the fact they always stay busy whether it is cleaning and taking care of the fire trucks and fire house or conducting hydrant inspections because â€śit makes the day go by that much quicker.â€ť
On his off days, Wycuff shared he enjoys hunting and fishing, riding his 4-wheeler and target shooting.
Their desire to work is not lost on their boss.
Krites officially introduced Bellman and Wycuff, his two new firefighters and paramedics, Thursday when they took their oath of office from Mayor Rodney Metz in front of the firehouse.
â€śBoth of them seem to be very sharp, bright individuals, they learn quick and they are both good workers,â€ť Krites said. â€śThey are both eager to learn and they seem to have great attitudes, with a good demeanor which is very important with our having 24-hour crews that live together.
â€śThey should make very good firefighters for Wapakoneta.â€ť