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Danbury Fire Chief Shares Gift of Mentoring with Fellow Firefighters

DSABC holds recruitment event at Danbury Fire Department     

As someone who knows the value of making a commitment to helping others, Danbury Fire Chief T.J. Wiedl also knows firsthand that being a mentor is one of life’s most rewarding experiences. After 10 years of mentoring, he’s ready to pass the baton to his staff.

On Jan. 23 and 26, Wiedl and Danbury Schools and Business Collaborative (DSABC) Director Mary Gregory spoke with 100 firefighters about the rewards of mentoring.

“I have gotten favorable feedback so far,” said Wiedl. “I’m reaching out to retired firefighters as well.”

Wiedl began mentoring a third-grade student 10 years ago. Every week, he spent an hour with the student until that student graduated from high school. Now in college, the student and Wiedl have remained friends.

“It was much better for me than him,” Wiedl said with a chuckle. “He got somebody to depend on. If I didn’t show up, he let me know about it. And now he’s going to do great things.”

Although the firefighters work on a rotating shift, DSABC is willing to work with their schedules if they commit to mentoring regularly once day a week. So far, several firefighters have made the commitment to become mentors.

The success of the mentoring program is dependent on volunteers. There is currently a waitlist for students seeking mentors in the two school-based programs. In the “One-on-One” mentoring program, there are more than 50 students on the waitlist with a need for 12 male mentors to work with high school boys. There is a need for 45 mentors in the “Workplace Learning E-Mentoring.”

For more information or to become a mentor, contact Mary Gregory at (203) 797-4845.

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