Meet Our Crew: Firefighter Luke Vogler
When Luke Vogler was serving in the U.S. Coast Guard and stationed in Georgetown, he and his wife, Tammy, fell in love with the area.
After leaving the Coast Guard and becoming a firefighter in Georgia, Vogler, 36, jumped at a chance to return and join Midway Fire Rescue.
"It was a way for me to come back," Vogler said. "That was my 'in' to come back to the beach."
Vogler grew up in Stone Mountain, Georgia, and graduated from Lakeside High School. He studied hazardous waste management and human resources at Georgia Perimeter College in Atlanta, and Georgia State University in Atlanta, before earning a master's degree in management from the American Military University.
One day in 2005 while driving home from work, Vogler passed a billboard with an advertisement for the Coast Guard. He joined the next day.
"I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do," he said. "I was just looking for something exciting to do, something different. I knew I wanted to help people."
After his basic training, the Coast Guard sent Vogler to the Federal Law Enforcement Training Facility in Charleston to become a boarding officer, and he ended up spending six years stationed in Georgetown.
"I had such a good time in the Coast Guard," Vogler said. "(It's) a great job and it's very similar to what we do (at Midway) except it's with boats."
The Coast Guard works closely with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources and the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office performing safety inspections and license checks and making sure people aren't breaking the law.
The Voglers bought a house in Murrells Inlet and their first son, Levi, was born while he was stationed here.
After Vogler left the Coast Guard in 2011, he moved his family back to Atlanta to sell insurance for his dad's company.
"It didn't take me long to figure out I wasn’t fit for that," he said.
Vogler took a job with Gwinnett County Fire and Rescue and completed his firefighting and EMT training. He said his time in the Coast Guard prepared him to be a firefighter because the structure, routine and the ranks are the same.
"I think it allowed me to walk into this job and be successful at it," he said. "I didn’t have any problems at all making the transition into the fire service."
In April 2014, Vogler was hired by Midway and he moved his family back into their house in Murrells Inlet, which they had been renting to Coast Guardsmen.
Vogler is trained for water rescues and is leaning how to drive all the trucks. Midway is also paying for him to go through paramedic school, which will take a year to complete.
"It's a big commitment and I'm very excited," he said.
Vogler doesn't have any one experience that he calls his best, but his worst are anything having to do with elderly people, especially if they're alone of have dementia.
"It's just heart-breaking,” he said. "Accidents happen and people get hurt, but, to me, those are the tough calls."
One of Vogler's goals is to travel the country with Tammy, who is a teacher at St. Peter’s Lutheran School, and his sons, Levi, 5, and Noah, 4.
"My mom and dad, they took us all over the country. We traveled a lot growing up and it was really neat seeing everywhere else," Vogler said. "I'd like to take my kids to the same places they took me. … I think that would be pretty awesome."