Fire science alum giving back to OTC students

Fire science alum giving back to OTC students

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Contact

College Director of Communications
417.447.2655 publicinfo@otc.edu
Steve Koehler
Coordinator of media relations (417) 447-2666 koehlers@otc.edu

Bryan Newberry will never stop being a fire science student.

After earning an associate’s degree from OTC in fire science technology in 2003, the 36-year-old Newberry eventually became fire chief of the city of Battlefield and is also an adjunct instructor at OTC in the same fire science program he went through.

Both jobs require him to stay on top of the latest innovations and technological advances in fighting fires. He passes that knowledge on to the firefighters under his watch and the students in his class.

“I really enjoy the college atmosphere. It’s one of those fields where you have to keep up with the technology and grow if you’re going to have the knowledge to keep teaching. I learn something new every day in the class as a teacher,” Newberry said.

The 36-year-old’s decision to become a firefighter was influenced by his grandfather, who was a firefighter on the Springfield Fire Department after serving as a Marine in World War II.

The Nixa High School graduate worked at the Nixa Fire Department starting in 1999 while going to OTC. He had been a volunteer there since he was 16. He became an assistant fire chief at Nixa before moving on to Battlefield where he oversees four firehouses and 30 employees.

His adjunct work started in 2005; he feels a duty to teach students everything he knows.

 “In fire service, with all the experience, education and knowledge you gain over the years, you feel obligated to give it back. If you don’t share it, students lose a chance to get those skills,” he said.

Recently, the college received a fire engine thanks to a donation from Jon’s Mid-America Fire Apparatus. The truck will be on display at OTC’s Community Day April 28.

“There are so many benefits to having the fire engine. Students need to have the experience of how a fire truck works before their first day on the job,” Newberry said. “Now, they get that hands-on experience before stepping into a firehouse for the first time.”

Steve Koehler is coordinator of media relations at Ozarks Technical Community College.