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Derrick Richardson gives back to the community as Fire Captain

Derrick+Richardson+carries+a+fire+hose+in+preparation+to+attack+a+house+fire.+He+has+been+a+firefighter+for+21+years+and+a+Fire+Captain+for+nine+of+those+years.+%E2%80%9CI+hold+a+number+of+fire+certifications+and+am+able+to+do+a+multiple+jobs+in+the+fire+service%2C+Richardson+said.+%E2%80%9CI+love+helping+people+and+giving+back+and+I+do+that+in+the+fire+service+and+in+my+community+as+a+volunteer.+I+love+the+job+and+the+work+it+includes.%E2%80%9D
Derrick Richardson carries a fire hose in preparation to attack a house fire. He has been a firefighter for 21 years and a Fire Captain for nine of those years. “I hold a number of fire certifications and am able to do a multiple jobs in the fire service, Richardson said. “I love helping people and giving back and I do that in the fire service and in my community as a volunteer. I love the job and the work it includes.”

Derrick Richardson carries a fire hose in preparation to attack a house fire. He has been a firefighter for 21 years and a Fire Captain for nine of those years. “I hold a number of fire certifications and am able to do a multiple jobs in the fire service, Richardson said. “I love helping people and giving back and I do that in the fire service and in my community as a volunteer. I love the job and the work it includes.”

Courtesy of Derrick Richardson

Courtesy of Derrick Richardson

Derrick Richardson carries a fire hose in preparation to attack a house fire. He has been a firefighter for 21 years and a Fire Captain for nine of those years. “I hold a number of fire certifications and am able to do a multiple jobs in the fire service, Richardson said. “I love helping people and giving back and I do that in the fire service and in my community as a volunteer. I love the job and the work it includes.”

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Serving his community as a firefighter after graduating in 1990, alumnus Derrick Richardson was promoted to Fire Captain in Alton, Ill. He has been a firefighter since 1997 and was promoted after only nine years of being on the force.

“Fire captain is a tested position. I tested and got promoted to engineer in 2000. Six years later, I tested and got promoted to captain in 2006. I became a fire captain because I wanted to advance in my career. To advance, you have to go through the ranks,” Richardson said.

Richardson believes the best part of his work is helping people and giving back to the community.

“I love [my] job and the work it includes. Putting out fires and rescuing people is exciting. The schedule is awesome too. It allows me time to be a part of my community, be a part-time fire science instructor at the local community college and spend time with my family,” Richardson said.

In addition to his role as fire captain, Richardson also served in the Air National Guard from 1995 to 2003 and the Air Force from 1991 to 1995. In the Air National Guard, Richardson managed food operations for facilities and personnel. In the Air Force, he was a traffic manager in San Antonio, Texas.

“Fire departments have paramilitary structure. Active duty Air Force is a military structure. Working in the Air National was like active duty but only part-time. I adjusted well. I had great times, learning opportunities and lifetime experiences,” Richardson said.

Along with firefighting and working in the armed forces, Richardson is currently a self-published author and has published three volumes of quotes since 1997.

“I always loved quotes. I like to read them, collect them and use them. One day, I came up [with] my own quote. It just came to me. I noticed I had a gift, so when the opportunity presented itself, I would make up other quotes,” Richardson said. “I started collecting my own quotes along with other quotes. I compiled them into volumes and self-published them [because] I wanted to share my quotes with others.”

Richardson also started his own business called DDR Event Services, which lasted from Sept. 2009 to Dec. 2014.

“We were crowd control specialists. We managed crowds and traffic at events. We worked concerts, bars, events and parties. There was a need in our community to have crowd control specialists at an affordable rate that allow low-budget promoters to organize events. I started the business by researching the need for the service in our community and how to start this particular type of business,” Richardson said.  

Richardson became a part-time fire science instructor in September 2017 at Lewis and Clark Community College.

“I want to give back to those in the fire service by teaching them what I learned and benefited from. I also wanted to add teaching to my resume [and] teach at Lewis and Clark Community College [because it] is a great part of [the] community,” Richardson said.

Throughout all of his accomplishments, Richardson has faced people who try to bring him down, but he has learned to overcome those struggles.   

“There are always haters. People who feel you don’t deserve to be where you are. People who feel they should’ve gotten promoted over you. People who feel they are better than you. People, who in their mind, feel you don’t know how to do your job,” Richardson said. “You have to ignore the haters, be yourself, remain confident in your abilities, be proud of your accomplishments and remember what got you there in the first place.”

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Derrick Richardson gives back to the community as Fire Captain