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January 6, 2020

Alumnus says Fire Science education gave him a great start

Brian Redelsheimer grew up next to a fire station. His family was one of the first in the neighborhood to get a police scanner. And a family outing was often a tour of a fire station.

So it wasn’t surprising when Brian became one of the first graduates of JCCC’s Fire Academy.

Where there’s smoke

"Every class had something we could use in the real world." Brian Redelsheimer

During his first semester at JCCC, Brian took Introduction to Fire Science and was hooked. He was in school to get a business degree, but when he saw that JCCC had fire science courses, he thought, “I’ll study business and fire science!”

Brian fondly remembers that first class with five students, which met in the instructor’s office. “The course was incredibly hands-on,” he says. “We had hours of ride-along with different stations. As a student — getting to go on calls and be in the firehouse — that sealed the deal for me.”

Education ignites lifelong learning

Brian completed an associate degree in business at JCCC and went on to the University of Missouri–Kansas City to get a business degree. As he interviewed with local fire departments, he realized that nearly everyone in local fire service had gone to JCCC. “The program is very highly regarded in the industry,” he said

When he started with the Overland Park Fire Department in 1988, he returned to JCCC to get his EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) license, which is now required by most fire departments. He eventually earned a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Kansas, and is now a battalion chief over several stations in Overland Park.

“The business training I received at JCCC taught me how to budget and manage, and helped me understand how the fire department fits into the bigger picture of city and county government,” Brian said. “Of course, the Fire Academy prepared me for a career in fire service. But most of all, my JCCC education inspired me to be a lifelong learner.”

Celebrating a hero

"JCCC gives you every building block you need to be successful." Brian Redelsheimer

Brian is also involved with the Mark Mansfield Memorial Explorer Scout Scholarship at the JCCC Foundation. When the Overland Park Fire Department unexpectedly lost firefighter Mark Mansfield in 2002, the Mansfield family established the scholarship to help develop future firefighters and EMTs.

In fall 2019, JCCC student Jake Burkhart, a graduate of the Overland Park Fire Department’s Fire Explorer program, was awarded the scholarship. Jake received his EMT license at JCCC and is working toward his Fire Science Certificate.

During his acceptance speech, Jake said, “At JCCC, there are thousands of students like me who are training — with great passion — for careers crucial to quality of life. All kinds of hands-on expertise is built at our college... expertise we need in our community.”

Warm up to fire service

If fire service sounds like the career ladder you want to climb, check out our Fire Science program.