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Fire Chief Lives for Thrill of the Ride

Before there were any rules against it, 15-year-old John Pokorny was riding in a fire truck with his father, going to calls. That was 1974. Today, Weston's fire chief and fire marshal still lives for the excitement of the ride.

"When I was in first grade in elementary school, the Hurlbutt school building burned to the ground. I sat for a whole year and watched them knock the old burnt out building down and start building the new building...that got me all sparked about it," said Pokorny, who grew up in Weston.

Today, he oversees about 70 members of the all-volunteer fire department, which responds to about 500 calls each year. The department has reached its maximum strength, which Pokorny attributes to the generosity of the volunteers and the recent option to buy into the town health insurance program.

Pokorny, who has been an avid drummer and theater enthusiast for years, said having a department of all volunteers saves the town a lot of money. Most of the members live in Weston, or, as required, work there more than 20 hours each week. In turn, the town gives back by providing up-to-date equipment and repairs. "It's a two way street," he said. "The town is great to us and we're great for the town."

Being on the run and thinking on his feet are what Pokorny loves most about his job. "I'm not a person that really likes to sit around a lot. I can be sitting home watching American Idol with the kids and minutes later be doing something that's absolutely just off the wall," he said. "You just never know--its interesting, challenging, exciting...every single call is different, every situation is different. There's no two times that the same thing happens. You kind of have to work on the fly, which is something I like to do."

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