Father and Sons Learn New Skills at Westville Fire Department

Richard Hubbs, his son and stepson have all been volunteering in the fire service since they were teenagers, but only recently began volunteering together at the same station, Westville Fire Department.

Richard, 59, grew up with his dad, uncles and stepfather in the fire service, and wanted to follow in their footsteps to help the community. Richard joined the fire service after graduating from high school at age 18 and joined Westville about two and a half years ago.

Similarly, Richard’s son, Kyle Hubbs, 28, and stepson, Matt Wilson, 33, grew up watching him in the fire service and were interested as young boys.

“I enjoy working alongside both my sons as we all grow and learn from each other,” said Richard. “I pass on the knowledge I have learned over the years and we all teach each other something.”

Kyle started at the age of 14 and Matthew at the age of 15 as fire explorers, and completed Firefighter I certification at age 18. Matt joined Westville about 4 years ago and Kyle joined in February 2022. They both love being able to learn from their dad and admire that he is always learning and improving his skills.

“I think it’s awesome volunteering with my stepdad. He is a great teacher and leader,” said Matt. “Even at his age he is still going to school and classes to learn more and pass that knowledge down to younger firefighters.”

Richard is currently a volunteer firefighter/EMT at Westville Fire Department, but he has held many other ranks and administrative positions at previous fire companies.

“Volunteering with my dad is great since he has more experience, and is always teaching me new things and really makes it easier to learn,” said Kyle.

When recounting memories with his sons, Richard says there are too many memories of training and fighting fires to list, but it’s always a new learning experience.

“Both my sons are good learners and constantly want to learn more skills,” said Richard. “Even if they are asked last minute if they can fill in for a class, at least one of them will go out of their way to fill in.”

Kyle and Matt both recall memorable moments with their dad involving car fires.

“I remember when we were learning how to put out a car fire and he told me that I shouldn’t be afraid to put my head into the car with the hose to make sure I get the fire out,” said Kyle.

Similarly, Matt recalls a training session with a car fire simulator where he was on the nozzle and his dad was behind him on the hose line.

“He kept pushing me closer and closer to the fire until it touched my fire helmet,” said Matt. “I have learned skills that I’ve never thought I would use outside the firefighting world and skills that make me a better person to help my neighbors and the community.”

Volunteers receive free equipment and diverse training at local, state and national levels. This prepares Westville firefighters and EMTs for any type of emergency.

In addition to firefighting skills, volunteering at Westville Fire Department teaches problem-solving, leadership and organizational skills. Kyle’s communication skills have also improved including how to talk to 911 dispatchers more effectively. No matter the age, volunteers can always learn something new.

“I’m still learning skills in Westville and train most Thursdays every month to keep up on my knowledge and refresh other skills I have,” said Richard. “Volunteering becomes like your second family, a home away from home.”

When they are not volunteering, Richard currently works as an EMT/fleet manager at Tricare Medical Transportation, Matt works as a transloader/laborer at SMS Rail Lines and Kyle is working as a dry ice production technician at Linde Gas.

Volunteers can give as much time as they choose to and are not expected to answer every call.

“I love being a volunteer because I don’t have to constantly be at the firehouse,” said Kyle. “I can respond to calls when I am available and still be able to spend time with my family.”

Westville Fire Department is seeking volunteer firefighters and firefighters/EMTs for those ages 18 and older. The junior firefighting program is for teens ages 14-17 and trains them to assist on calls.

Learn more about volunteering at Westville Fire Department or sign up at JoinWestvilleFire.org.