Cody Stiffler: ‘This is what I’m supposed to do’

Cody Stiffler, 26, is a firefighter with York Area United Fire & Rescue and also volunteers with Glen Rock Hose & Ladder.

Presented by: Our York Media
Written by: Anthony Machcinski
Cody Stiffler (Photo by Anthony Machcisnki/Our York Media)

Firefighter Cody Stiffler remembers the silence on board Rescue 19 while responding to a call on Interstate 83.

“We didn’t know what happened until we got there,” Cody says, “but on the truck that night, everyone had this eerie feeling that it could be somebody we know.”

In the early hours of April 27, 2014, Loganville Fire Chief Rodney Miller was shutting down the interstate so a medevac helicopter could land at a crash near I-83’s Glen Rock exit when a vehicle hit him.

Cody and others with Goodwill Fire Company treated him at the scene. An ambulance took Chief Miller to York Hospital, where was pronounced dead on arrival.

“I knew Rodney for most of my life,” Cody says. “He was one of those people that you saw him and stopped to talk with him. That entire incident made me rethink everything I did and everything I’ve been involved in.”

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Firefighting runs in the 26-year-old’s blood. His father was a volunteer firefighter for Glen Rock Hose & Ladder Company while his mom volunteered in support – helping in fundraisers and taking refreshments to the crew after large fires.

He says one his earliest memories involved an apartment fire on Main Street in Glen Rock. Cody was 7.

It’s a childhood dream that every kid wants to be a firefighter, but that never went away for me.

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Cody Stiffler

“You could watch the fire from the windows of the firehouse,” Cody says. “I remember sitting there in the window, watching the smoke, the ladder trucks pouring water on the building. That was the first time I watched the whole job.”

He joined Glen Rock Hose & Ladder as a junior firefighter at 14 – an experience akin to getting his driver’s license. Today, he volunteers with the company and serves as a firefighter for York Area United Fire & Rescue.

“It was a job I fell in love with, being around the firehouse with my dad,” Cody says. “Something about it just clicked. It’s a childhood dream that every kid wants to be a firefighter, but that never went away for me.”

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In the days after Chief Miller’s death, Cody wondered if he should keep being a firefighter.

He quickly realized he could never give up the calling. He wasn’t sure what else he would do if he did leave, but there was more to it.

“When people are having some of the worst times in their lives, you’re the person they turn to,” Cody says. “I’ve always wanted to help people in those moments. This is what I know. This is what I’m supposed to do.”

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