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Meet Ryan

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ryan daughton - east Franklin FIRE DEPARTMENT, NJ

"Be the best you can be daily, and try to be better than you were the day before." That's one of several mantras that motivates Ryan Daughton, assistant fire chief at East Franklin Fire Department in central New Jersey. He has been volunteering for 20 years, but volunteering alone doesn't keep him active enough. Daughton spends his spare time working out, participating in Spartan and Tough Mudder races, and doing "basically anything athletic and adventurous to help charities out."

How did you get involved in the fire service?

My friend in high school had a blue light in his vehicle. He explained to me that he was not a police officer, but a volunteer firefighter. I asked him how could I join and the rest is history!

How do you balance volunteering with work and family?

If you write things down, keep your priorities straight, and have good cooperation from everyone, it is easy to balance! When you love what you do, you never have to work a day in your life!

What is one of the biggest challenges that your department faces? 

Retaining members who live close to the fire district is challenging. We are trying to recruit more members who live in the area by attending more local events in the town.

What does your department do to educate the community about fire safety?

We do yearly demonstrations in the schools, educate through all of our social media outlets, and hold firehouse tours to teach people about fire safety and education.

Does your department have a fundraiser that's particularly successful?

We do car washes and boot drives that are pretty successful at various times of the year.

Let's talk favorite book/movie/TV show/band/song. Any thoughts?

My favorite book is still up in the air, but I really love "75 HARD" by Andy Frisella. For movies, my favorite is anything from the Rocky series. I relate my life a lot to his movies! For TV, I like anything sports related. My favorite music is by Keith Urban and Linkin Park. And my favorite song is "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor.

Do you have any advice for new volunteers?

Listen twice as much as you talk. Never stop training and always be willing to accept constructive criticism. It will help you grow into the best example of a volunteer firefighter you can be!