Erik Noel trained to be a firefighter and EMT in his home state of Ohio, but his mentor told him he’d have a better chance at finding a job if he headed south.
So that’s what Noel did in 2013, taking a job with Midway Fire Rescue.
Noel, 31, is a native of Ashville, Ohio, and a 2003 graduate of Teays Valley High School.
He tried police work for a year and was a prison guard for five years.
When he was 23, he tagged along with a friend’s dad, who was a lieutenant with the Columbus (Ohio) Fire Department. The rest is history.
“I’ve been hooked ever since,” said Noel, who got all his firefighting certifications at Hocking College in Ohio. His friend’s dad was also the one who told him to move south.
Noel has hazmat training and is a member of Georgetown County’s Technical Rescue Team.
He doesn’t have a favorite experience, but said he just enjoys “always leaving the patients with a smile on their face and knowing we did our best.”
His worst experience was back in Ohio, when a mantel fell on a 5-year-old, cracking the boy’s skull.
Noel did CPR in the ambulance all the way to the hospital, where the child was pronounced dead.
Noel is a firefighter I/EMT basic with Midway but hopes that’s just a step in the promotion ladder.
Noel lives in Myrtle Beach with his wife, Chasey; son, Zyan, 6; and daughter, Izabella, 3.
When he’s not working, he likes hanging out on the beach or fishing with his family.
He’s also just started Dirt Oval RC Racing with his son and father-in-law.
The Noels would like to buy a house and put down roots in the Lowcountry.
“I’m committed 100 percent,” he said.
What’s his best advice for a new firefighters and EMTs?
“Be a sponge, soak it all in,” Noel said. “Learn and train.”
By CHRIS SOKOLOSKI
SOUTH STRAND NEWS