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Erik Croft honored as Auburn City Firefighter of the Year

Croft a Placer High graduate
By: Interview Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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Editor’s Note: Erik Croft, Auburn City Firefighter of the Year and Placer High School graduate, sat down with the Journal Friday to reflect on his career over the past 10 years and the honor given to him by the fire department. Highlights of the conversation follow. Q: How long have you been firefighting and what made you want to pursue this career? A: Ten years. A roommate I lived was becoming a volunteer and I did it with him and it was just something to do. (I was) born and raised in Auburn, fourth generation. Q: Was anyone else in your family a firefighter? A: My great grandfather. He was one for the forest service before it was called CDF. Q: Is there one fire or incident that stands out to you most in your career? A: That would be the Old Town Fire at the Mercantile Building. It caught on fire in about ’04, ’05, I believe. I lived at 222 Sacramento St. at the time and the pager went off and I grabbed another engine (from the Gietzen Fire Station on Sacramento Street) and drove the whole 300 feet. Oz had damage. Awful Annie’s had damage. Old Town Pizza had damage. We saved it from burning down to the ground. Q: What things are important to you outside of work? A: My wife and my kids. Jamie is my wife and daughter Brooke and William is my son. We live in Roseville now. Right now it’s the sports with William playing baseball and football. Brookie is going to be starting dance soon. She is 5. Q: Is it difficult being away from your family for days at a time when you are working? A: It’s still hard getting up for a call, leaving and having to go to work and not seeing them for two days. That’s hard. Summer and not knowing how summer is going to turn out. I have missed a couple of weddings and trips because of it. Q: Who are some of your closest friends at the department? A: I’ve known John Rogers since junior high. I’ve known John for 20 years. You get along with each other and they are all like family. You are with them 10 days a month for 48 hours. They are a second family. Q: What do you like most about your job as a firefighter? A: I guess the camaraderie and just what everyone probably says is helping the community. It’s kind of a passion being a firefighter. We love our job — the adrenaline, helping the people, the camaraderie here at the station. Q: What is the biggest challenge in your job? A: Nothing is routine. It’s all a challenge. You have a medical call and something you think is routine, a difficulty breathing, turns into CPR. You really have to be alert. Q: What advice do you have for people trying to become a firefighter? A: Fire academy, volunteer. As you are volunteering continue to take training courses. The more you can put on your resume, the better, so you can stand out among the 5,000 other people applying to the position. Reach Sara Seyydin at saras@goldcountrymedia.com, or follow her on Twitter @AJ_News. _______________________________________________________ Fellow Auburn City Fire Department Personnel sound off on the question, ‘Why do you think Erik Croft deserves the honor of Auburn City Firefighter of the Year?’ • “Primarily he is the true example of a volunteer. His persistence into always doing a great job at all times is really what’s admirable. Ten years and he still keeps working on bettering his skills and service levels. He is an ideal of an individual really committed to serving his community. It is a decision that is made ultimately by me, but I rely heavily on my staff to assist me. We are just looking for that individual that contributes to the organization. It’s different all the time. You are in these fiscal constraint times, so you are looking for an individual that keeps their head up and stays positive and there are times when we have an individual that goes above and beyond the call of duty on a specific call or incident. When I have witnessed or experienced Erik on incidents he is right in there performing at that top level, no question about it.”- Mark D’Ambrogi. Fire Chief and Fire Marshal, Auburn City Fire • “He is a former U.S. Marine. He is a really hard worker. He has really helped the city in a time of financial need. He doesn’t have benefits. He doesn’t have a set schedule and he is always there for us when we need him.” – Lucas “Lou” Rogers, Firefighter, Auburn City Fire • “He is a really hard worker. He has 10 years in experience with us and he has kind of been a teacher to the younger guys coming in. He is really kind of taking that next step in his career. We know he knows his job. He does a good job and he is confident in the work he does. He laughs and jokes. He is fun to work with. He always seems to be in a good mood. You are pretty much living together and he is one of the good guys to work with. He is a family man. He is a nice guy and you always know he is going to give 100 percent.” – John Williamson, Gietzen Station Captain, Auburn City Fire