RCC prepared Kris Miller for an exciting future
Rogue Community College graduate Kris Miller has the best of all worlds.
He’s in a profession where he starts the day excited about going to his job, delivers a vital community service, and works closely with a trusted team. A firefighter with Grants Pass Department of Public Safety’s Fire/Rescue Operations Division, Miller received his training at RCC.
“This work is exhilarating,” he said. “You wake up and look forward to coming to your shifts and seeing what the day holds. It’s not for everyone but when it is your calling, it gets in your blood.”
It took a few years for Miller to find his vocation. After graduating from South Medford High School in 2002, he worked for Dutch Bros., traveling around the West Coast helping with grand openings. He went on to complete apprenticeship training through RCC and became a journeyman electrician. Pay was good, he said, but he didn’t find the work fulfilling.
Miller, who recalls having his photo taken when he was a little boy with a Central Point firefighter, remembers thinking, “That was something I’d always wanted to do.” So he contacted RCC and began his journey to the fire station. While attending EMT and fire science classes, he served a two-year internship with Grants Pass Fire, which paid for college expenses.
“My wife, Carrie, was gracious enough to help me,” he explained. “I couldn’t have done this without her.” Married seven years, the couple recently celebrated the birth of their first child, Kate.
“RCC definitely prepared me for my future and my job,” Miller said. “The best thing about the Fire Science program is that instructors take pride in training students well. They also have a huge stake and investment because they work online and the firefighters they train could be right alongside them.”
Miller also earned his basic EMT certification at Rogue.
“It’s a really good program, too,” he said. “Gary Heigel (department head) takes a lot of pride in the program and has very high standards.” Miller’s job offers a range of opportunities, he noted, including helping train new recruits and “pay it forward.”
“Firefighting is the greatest job in the world,” Miller said. “I couldn’t ask for anything better. I get to work with people who love their jobs and are excited to be here.”
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