Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Captain Rodney Jewett, 47, dreamed of becoming a firefighter since he was a young child growing up in Johnson City, NY, admiring passing fire trucks.
He has served in the fire service for 25 years, 19 of those at Murrells Inlet-Garden City Fire District.
Starting in 1989, Jewett served as a firefighter with the U.S. Coast Guard and decided to turn it into a career.
He started as a volunteer firefighter in New York and continued in service when he moved to Murrells Inlet.
The main reason he likes being a firefighter is helping other people.
“I like knowing what to do and being able to do it in an emergency situation,” Jewett said.
He said he has always been driven to solve problems going on around him.
He added that it helps to be “kind of crazy” and have a “warped sense of humor” in order to cope with situations that firefighters see on a daily basis.
His special training includes water rescue, for which he serves as coordinator for the Murrells Inlet-Garden City Fire District, and specialized/technical rescue training in ropes, confined spaces, trench, below grade, HazMat, vehicle extraction and building construction.
He says his worst shift as a firefighter was this past Easter Sunday when there were two fires, one at 9:30 a.m. in Murrells Inlet and the next one at 3:30 a.m. the next morning in Garden City Beach.
“Each fire had two deaths,” Jewett said.
“Kids were involved in the second fire and they lost both of their parents.”
His best shift was about five years ago, he said, when he helped rescue a group of six swimmers caught in a rip current at Garden City Beach.
“A bystander pulled one person out and I pulled out a group of three and went back out after the rest,” Jewett said.
“Everyone was saved.”
He said he just happened to be on beach patrol at the right place and time.
Jewett said his professional goal is to continue in fire service until he retires and keep plugging away as co-owner of Garden City Pest Control.
His wife, Kelly, is the other co-owner of that business.
They have a daughter, Sarah, who is the head accountant at Compass Cove Resort in Myrtle Beach.
They also have a 13-year-old female Dalmation named Tillie.
When Jewett is not working, he enjoys woodworking, including building furniture and other projects, taking out his 18-foot tracker boat, watching the Rangers hockey team, NASCAR racing and listening to 80s hair bands like Iron Maiden, KISS and Van Halen.
He said he has gotten Sarah into that type of music also.
Jewett also likes to fish in both fresh and salt water.
When he and his wife go out, they like to have a date night at Monday Night Lights fireworks over Murrells Inlet and lunch cruises to Georgetown in their boat.
As far as his life goal, he said he is already doing what he always wanted to do.