Monday, January 26, 2015
If it wasn’t for a friend who recruited him years ago, Lt. Wayne Hardee never would have had a 23-year career as a firefighter and EMT Intermediate.
“I started with a volunteer with a rescue squad and it just blossomed from there,” Hardee said.
He was been with Georgetown County Fire EMS for six years. He said he loves his job because “it’s never the same.”
“There is always a challenge,” he said. “Not everyone can do this job. It takes a special breed.”
The Marion native has an associate’s degree in fire administration and has been a teacher with the fire academy for 18 years. Beyond his EMT training, Hardee is also a Technical Rescue Team leader, so he has a variety of advanced training including hazmat and confined space.
He had many rewarding experiences on the job.
“One time I had a family contact me back after a cardiac arrest,” he said. “Another time I saved this woman’s Bible in a fire, and she was so happy, she baked me a cake.”
But the job, of course, does have difficult times. “I’m a father of two, so when you deal with kids, it’s hard,” he said. “Once you become a parent, even if a child just loses their toys, it’s a big deal to them.”
Hardee is dad to a 5-year-old and 3-month-old. His wife of 10 years, Cassidy, is a pediatric speech pathologist. The family also has a black Lab, Marley, who he said is “100 percent the Marley of (popular book and movie) ‘Marley and Me’.”
For fun, Hardee enjoys saltwater fishing and diving, and a bit of recreational shrimping. He “absolutely” eats what he catches. “I try to live off the land the best I can,” he said.
Hardee loves to cook and is “pretty good with a brisket.”
“I like to smoke (meat) a lot. My wife says I’m the dirtiest cook in the world,” Hardee said, with a laugh.
The family also enjoys camping, and Hardee likes to play sports with his kids. He said the family enjoys attending Carolina football games, and he’s a fan of college football and baseball.
On date night, he and Cassidy enjoy going out for sushi.
For two years, Hardee has also maintained a hobby of playing the bagpipes, and plays with the Horry-Georgetown Fire Chief’s Association. “It’s a traditional instrument in the fire service, and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”
Hardee said he hopes to one day go back to school and get a bachelor’s degree. “I don’t have an admiration of any certain rank,” he said, “but I do want to be prepared if the option every presents itself.”
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