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For the Colliers, firefighting is a family business

For the Colliers, firefighting is a family business

Firefighters will often say their colleagues are like family. For the Colliers, that sentiment is true in more ways than one.

On July 1, Midland Fire Capt. Ryan Collier will celebrate 22 years in the fire service, according to a recent video interview posted by the Midland Fire Department. Ryan was inspired to become a firefighter because his father served in the service. His brother also recently served Midland Fire.

“I grew up around it, that’s why I chose to do it,” Ryan said.

That family tradition is continuing now that Ryan’s son, Brycen, has joined Midland Fire. Brycen celebrated his first year anniversary in the fire service in April.

“I couldn’t make a decision on what I wanted to do at the time I finished high school,” Brycen said. “I just kind of fell into it, [my dad] proposed the idea to me. He said, why don’t you just try it? I tried it and fell in love with it.”

Brycen trained in the academy offered at Midland College. “It worked out, I loved it,” he said.

The father-son duo doesn’t work the same shift. But in cases of overtime or trade-out shifts, Ryan and Brycen have worked a couple of fires together.

Ryan admits things can become a bit competitive between the pair. In a recent physical ability test, Brycen declared himself the clear winner. “He should, he’s younger,” Ryan said. “My knees are giving out.”

In all seriousness, Ryan said the competition is really about advancing skills as firefighters.

“I want to see him succeed, so I will push him,” he said, adding that he’s currently pushing his son to complete an upcoming training.

Both father and son called careers in the fire service rewarding.

“Stick with it, it’s a very rewarding job. Very rewarding,” Brycen said. “I can’t imagine doing anything else now that I’ve started.”

And while they are literally family, the pair said one of the most rewarding parts of their job, is having their second family.

“It’s been a very rewarding career for me,” Ryan agreed.