Gridiron Hero

WHEN HE BECAME a firefighter at age 16, Bloomsburg University junior Greg Waters followed in the footsteps of his father, currently captain of Churchville’s Station 83, and his grandfather, a longtime firefighter. That legacy and several hundred hours of training kicked in nearly two years ago when he and others from his fire company helped save a mother and her 4-year-old daughter from their burning home.

On May 25, 2010, Waters recalls, he was hanging out at the station in Richboro with other firefighters when the call came in about a fire with possible entrapment in the neighboring Bucks County community of Upper Southampton. When Waters’ truck, Tower 3, arrived on the scene, the squad was told three people were trapped on the second floor and they would have to ventilate the windows. “By ventilating, we completely smash the window and get the area open so it is easy to get someone in or out and clear the house of heat and smoke,” he says.

“My heart was racing, but we are trained to get things done quickly, but properly,” the backup offensive lineman says. “We are always reminded to do things the right way, because you can’t help anyone else if you can’t take care of yourself.”

The actions of Waters and the others in his squad saved the woman and her daughter, although another daughter, an infant, did not survive. “(The experience) showed me how life can change in an instant,” says Waters.

Waters says his training as a firefighter has come into play as a football player for the Huskies. “Training to do things the right way serves me well in football,” says the criminal justice major. “In both areas if you train the correct way, you’ll be successful more often than not.”

Following the fire, the Lower Bucks County chapter of the American Red Cross honored Waters and members of Rescue 73, Tower 3 and Engine 2 with the Real Heroes 2011 Award for their heroic actions. The companies were also honored by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for their work in the rescue effort. •

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