SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – For one Utah firefighter, wearing the badge isn’t just an everyday job. He’s making it a family legacy and hopes it will go on for generations.
Rushing to the scene of a burning building runs in the family for Salt Lake City Fire Division Battalion Chief Kyle Lavender.
“Ever since I was old enough to understand what firefighters were, it’s what I wanted to be,” says Kyle Lavender, Salt Lake City Fire Battalion Chief, Medical Division.
He’s worn the badge for the last 26 years, and plenty of his relatives have too.
“I’d been dating my wife for about three and 1/2 to four months and found out that her grandpa had actually worked at my fire department with my grandpa. Had no idea,” explains Lavender.
He and his wife’s firefighting family tree boasts both grandparents, some of those grandkids, and now Lavender’s own son.
“As I’ve grown up and thought about other careers I could’ve gone into, nothing compares to what being a firefighter has meant to me,” shares Christian Lavender, Salt Lake City Firefighter.
Kyle Lavender’s son Christian works as a swing firefighter out of Salt Lake Fire Station #2, the same place where dad and those grandfathers have all worked before, a legacy Christian Lavender is proud to continue.
“I want to do well and make everyone else proud. I have the privilege of wearing the same last name that my dad does, so everywhere I go I represent him, and I want to represent him and the rest of my family very well,” says Christian Lavender.
For dad, it is about being there when the heat cranks up and returning the favor to firefighters who’ve come before him.
“I look at what it’s given me and what I’ve been able to accomplish here and it’s important to me that not only do we take from the fire services as a family, but we give back,” shares Kyle Lavender.
With any luck, father and son won’t be the last.
When you talk about continuing the legacy, Christian just got married last week. Dad is hoping that means grandkids in the near future, and Kyle plans to make a strong push to plant those firefighting seeds early.