‘You Never Know Unless You Try’

The Story of Jean Cosenza

From a young age, Jean was involved and interested in the volunteer service. After her father passed away, her family was taken in by the VFW. Seeing the support and love from VFW inspired her to do community service.

At 19, she attended multiple events put on by the local fire company and enjoyed seeing the camaraderie. Jean always wanted to be part of it and was interested in trying something different. So, she started her journey in the volunteer fire service.

“I was able to fit trainings around my schedule” Jean says, recalling the times she molded her training times around her classes while she was going to college.

She points out that training helps you realize how strong you really are and that they push you to your limits, in a good way.

“Really anyone can do the training to become a volunteer firefighter. It’s really exciting and gives you the opportunity to try something new,” Jean says. “It gives you the skills and confidence boost.”

A mother of two working full-time as a psychologist, she finds time to be a volunteer firefighter.

When she suits up, she becomes a different person.

“Being a volunteer firefighter has given me the skills and the mindset to handle the situations that could be crisis situation or understanding what individuals have gone through. I have gained the empathy and sympathy for people I work with,” Jean says.

Jean expressed that even when she took time off to grow her family and continue her education, she still was eager to continue her life as a volunteer. She found balance in it all and got back in the game.

“Find the balance, give yourself time to do something that you love. Firefighting is something that I love, so I find that time,” Jean says.

Jean is proud of her efforts knowing she is considered a hero to her daughters and the rest of her community. When she suits up, she becomes a different person.

“You never know unless you try,” she says. “Everyone needs something they can enjoy, and volunteering is something that gives you that. Volunteering as a firefighter is a great way to get things done.”

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Hear Jean's story and those of others who find time to volunteer.