What is your name?
Well, apparently I have many names. "Charlie Sheen, J.wow, Uncle Jessie from Fullhouse, among many many others. However, my full name is Jonathan Paul de'jesus Castelli.
Current position in Chelsea FD?
How long have you been in the fire service?
about 8 years, give or take a little.
Why did you join the Fire service?
that is a long story, the abbreviated version is that I never wanted to be a Firefighter. The mere thought never crossed my mind, but 9/11 changed that. At first I tried my hardest to enlist into the military and was rejected do to health issues. After a long time of rejection I was introduced to the Volunteer Fire service and was immediately hooked. Now, I cant imagine myself away from the fire service.
Did you have certain expectations of what it might be like to belong to a Fire department prior to joining?
I didn't have a clue what I was about to get myself into. Now that I do know, I will never leave it as its a part of me and a way to be a part of something bigger than myself.
Were your expectations met? what was different than you expected?
Well, I didn't really have an expectation except to be a part of a team that went out to help others in their time of need and that was certainly accomplished.
What are your goals within Chelsea FD?
I want to be able to say that I was able to make a difference. If I had to leave this department for whatever reason, I would want to be able to say I left it in a better state then when I joined. I would also like to be able to get a paid career out of this. If you love what you do AND you can get paid doing it, then it isn't "work" any more, it's more like a dream come true.
How has being a member of Chelsea FD affected your home/family life?
I'm not going to lie to you, it's torture to have to leave the family in order to fulfill my obligations to the FD and the community it protects. There have been many times that plans were postponed or flat out canceled because there was an emergency call I responded to. Quite a few times , those "emergencies" turned out to be caused by extreme carelessness by the occupant, followed by profuse apologies by the occupant or followed by angst and annoyance. So when you come home from something like that , it becomes very hard to justify cancellations of any plans , whether family or not.
Why do you volunteer?
Honestly, I have no clue. I am not paid, I have to abandon my family at times, I have to rush out of bed at 3 AM to try my best to navigate with bleary eyes and foggy brains just to get to the emergency and then get suited up in order to help. But, its a shared hardship with my friends at the FD and for no truly better reason, it's the right thing to do.
What is one thing that you would like to tell a potential new member?
Do not waste my time and do not waste your time if you do not have the self discipline, the self sacrifice and the drive to become someone that makes a difference. This field of work is ,for the majority of the time, thankless. It requires an ever increasing amount of time for training and the call volume is increasing, which means possibly more plans cancelled or delayed. However, if you feel you can do this and develop a real sense of belonging to this field, then by all means, welcome to the party!