Gulf Shores firefighter overcomes and inspires

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GULF SHORES, Ala. (WKRG) A fire station is a home away from home.  Firefighters and staff are an adopted family.  So, when one of them is hurt they all feel the pain.  Such is the story of Ron West.  A 25-year career as a firefighter forever changed after an 18-foot fall in May of 2015.  “It did leave me completely paralyzed from the waist down.”

What may have sidelined most people, didn’t stop West.  “I can use this as a learning experience for the kids to help them know that adversity comes. Now, how do you handle it?”

The same year of his accident, he had started teaching a new program at Gulf Shores High School that trains future medics and firefighters. “After I got over here and started interacting with the students, I fell in love.”  He is a mentor, instructor and for at least one of his students, Beau Maddox, he is an inspiration.  “Just his leadership really and his representation of what a firefighter should be and I always wanted to be like that.”

Thank you Lt. Ron West for the job you do and continue to do. You are this month’s Smiles Behind the Shield honoree.

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