The lights are on, the siren is blaring and chances are Nate Nichols is on the ambulance helping transport someone to a medical facility.
The EMT/BLS has been with the Vicksburg Fire Department since 2009 and still thrives on helping others over a decade later.
Despite the challenge of being away from home for long periods of time, Nichols says the satisfaction of helping people more than makes the job worth it.
“Being able to help someone whenever they’re having a bad day, or simply putting a smile on someone’s face is what I enjoy most,” Nichols said.
Nichols said his proudest moment was delivering a baby while on duty. “Just knowing that l was a part of bringing new life into this world can’t be beat,” he said.
Not all workdays end that happily, but Nichols still feels a sense of accomplishment at the end of every shift.
“I’ve found that a lot of people don’t realize that we are also responsible for doing evaluations with people who are dealing or coping with suicidal thoughts, depression, anxiety and other situations going on in their lives,” Nichols said.
And Nichols is no stranger to dark days. “I’ve overcome some obstacles in my own life. It’s all about being able to get back up when life has knocked you down. Even when you don’t know if you would be able to come back from that. But, have faith that God restores more abundantly.”
Vicksburg Fire Department Chief Craig Danczyk is aware of Nichols’ efforts on the job. He said, “Nathaniel Nichols is assigned to the Rescue on C-Shift. Our rescue crew responds to every structure fire, motor vehicle collision and most major medical calls. It is a tough job, and I appreciate the effort Firefighter Nichols gives our community.”
Nichols stated that there are days when he finds himself in scary situations. He said the key is learning how to rely on your training and co-workers, and most importantly, God to help overcome your fear.
Nichols’ advice to those considering a similar career is, “Start as early and as young as you can and apply yourself for opportunities. There is a lot of room for advancement with classes and training and other things.”