Monday, August 11, 2014
Josh Rana has had a variety of careers, but he says firefighting is one he didn’t necessarily choose.
“Firefighting is something I’ve always had a long interest in. It picked me more than I picked it,” he laughs.
The 44-year-old firefighter has been working for Georgetown Fire Department for about five years. He was first hired there in 2009, and after leaving for two years, he came back to the department in March.
“I’m glad to be back. … This is the only fire station I’ve ever worked at.”
What’s kept him here?
“No. 1, the people that work here. I enjoy the station, I enjoy everybody, I think we all get along really well and we make a great team. I have a sense of pride and loyalty to this place, that’s why I would not go [firefight] anywhere else.”
Rana is “just a normal firefighter” and engine operator. He drives Engine 10.
He’s trained as an engine operator, and also has training to work in confined spaces, extraction and operate the fire boat. There’s more, he laughs, but for now that’s all he can remember.
As far as worst memories, “there have been a few, but I don’t dwell on them.”
He’d rather be thinking about the good times.
“A favorite [memory] is having children come by the station and see their smiling faces when they talk to us and get to look at the engines.”
Before working in Georgetown, Rana was a long-time resident of Arizona.
He grew up in Manassas, Va., and moved to the desert at 18 years old to attend Arizona State University.
“I ended up staying for 12 years,” he says. “I love the desert.”
After college he worked at REI for several years, and later at Nike. He is a passionate rock climber and white water rafter, which he says he did a lot of in Arizona.
But then Rana reconnected with his wife, Nicole, who he knew and had dated in high school.
Why he moved to Litchfield is “more of a love story,” he smiles. “I basically moved here to get married.”
That was 13 years ago. Now he and Nicole, who is 42 and a shift manager at Walmart, have two daughters, 12-year-old Isabella and 7-year-old Gabriella.
The family also has a Guinea pig (“I was adamantly against it, but the Guinea pig arrived anyway.”) and two dogs – “They’re rescue dogs. Miley is a cockapoo and Teddy, well, he’s just brown.”
The Ranas love the water and spend a lot of their time at the beach. They spend time boating and fishing, but most of all, they spend free time and vacations Scuba diving.
“It’s a great activity because anyone can do it. It’s not based on a physical requirement,” he explains. Not only is Rana Scuba certified, but he’s also a certified Professional Association of Diving Instructors divemaster.
His wife and eldest daughter also Scuba, and Gabriella “can’t yet but she desperately wants to.”
They often Scuba during their family vacations, he says. The Florida Keys are at the top of their list, but they’ve also dived in Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and Cozumel.
“They Keys are one of my favorite places,” he says. “Something I could see myself living there. That would be a cool retirement, working on a dive boat.”
Going back to school may also be in his future.
“School is always on the table. I enjoy learning and don’t ever want to stop learning. Maybe one day down the road if a combination of my skillset and the situation arises… .”
Rana also loves to cook. “I like to eat, so I like to cook,” he jokes. “My favorite thing is ‘yes.’ Everything.”
But if he has a day all to himself, without the girls or work, Rana won’t be in the kitchen.
“You’ll find me under water. I’ll most likely be diving,” he says. “I have been enamored with it since I was 6 or 7 years old. I’ve been doing it for many years, and it’s still endlessly fascinating to me.”
He says he doesn’t necessarily have any goals to move up in the fire department. His biggest goal is to ensure his family’s health and happiness.
And, just maybe, that retirement in the Keys… .