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SPOTLIGHT: JOHN NELSON
SVFD Engineer John Nelson and Spokane Valley Tech
When you ask Spokane Valley firefighter and engineer John Nelson about his years of dedicated service to high school students as the lead Fire Science instructor at Spokane Valley Tech (SVT), he is quick to share the success story of Sydney Bruce (pictured at left).
A student in Nelson’s Fire Science and Emergency Medical Services class, Bruce also participated in SkillsUSA, a national program providing students with educational and competitive opportunities in career and technical education (CTE). Nelson served as advisor for SkillsUSA at SVT and coached both Bruce and fellow student Haley Davis (pictured at right). In March 2016, the young women competed at the state level in First Aid/CPR, Job Skills Demonstration and Job Interview categories. Applying the interview skills and tips provided by Nelson, they finished in first and second place in Job Interview against 36 other students. The win earned Bruce a spot in Nationals held in Kentucky in June. She competed against 52 contestants, made the top 12 and finished in fourth place!
“The national competition was extremely tight with literally a few points separating Sydney from first place,” Nelson smiled. “I am very proud of Sydney’s efforts and drive. She represented our program, Spokane Valley Tech and Washington State well and should be very proud of her accomplishments.”
Sydney graduated in June and is pursuing a career in nursing. She is one of hundreds of high school students who have benefited from John Nelson’s willingness to share his passion for Fire Science with the youth of our community. In fact, 34% of students who have completed the Fire Science program at SVT are still involved in the fire service – some as wildland firefighters, some as volunteer firefighters and others pursing higher education related to fire science.
“That’s a huge impact,” noted Scott Oakshott, director of Spokane Valley Tech. “John has a great attitude and is always smiling. Kids are especially drawn to John because he is himself and doesn’t try to impress students. He is a natural teacher who clearly loves people, especially kids.”
John Nelson was recently recognized by the Board of Fire Commissioners with a Service Award for his outstanding work with the students of Spokane Valley Tech. After six years of teaching fire science to high school students, John Nelson has stepped aside to let other Spokane Valley firefighters have the opportunity to give back to the community.
Nelson has been a Spokane Valley Fire Department firefighter since April 2002. He was promoted to Engineer in January 2010.
- Julie Happy