Meet John

By Laura Towers posted 01-01-2021 07:00

Get to know your fellow NVFC members!


John Borst III is the assistant fire chief for the Schoharie (NY) Fire Department. When friends in high school became active in the department, they convinced John to join. John's father previously served as chief for the department, so volunteering runs in the family.

What came as the biggest surprise to you after you started volunteering?
How many other volunteer firefighters (current or past) there are around the area, and how much we all have in common when we start talking about our own departments.

How has the NVFC helped you as a volunteer?

It has helped me connect with other volunteer firefighters across the nation, whether it's online or in person, like at the NVFC Training Summit.

Do you have any thoughts about the portrayal of volunteers in the media?
If you happen to make the news and the newscaster knows you are a volunteer firefighter, they will often include that title in the story. So always be conscious of what you do publicly and know that what you do or say could impact your fire department, for better or for worse.

What's the strangest thing that's happened to you while volunteering?
During Hurricane Irene when our village was flooded, we were doing a post-flood search of each house looking for those in need. In one of the houses, a CD player was damaged in the floor, but was playing the theme from "Jaws" when we entered the house! Creepy and funny at the same time.

What is one thing your fellow volunteers don't know about you?

I achieved my brown belt in karate many years ago.

Do you have any hobbies that keep you occupied when you're not working or volunteering?
Playing guitar. I love any music that's related to bluegrass or bluegrass instruments.