Tony Myers: Changing the firefighter culture

Tony had almost no training when he became a firefighter over 40 years ago. Now, as an instructor and fire chief, he’s trying to change that.

Presented by: Our York Media
Written by: Kate Penn
Tony Myers (Photo by Caleb Robertson for Our York Media)

When Tony Myers became a firefighter 42 year ago, his training was minimal.

“They threw gear on me and said, ‘Come on, let’s go,’” he remembers.

As a fire instructor and chief of the Shrewsbury Volunteer Fire Company, he’s changing that culture.


“The job of an old firefighter is to teach the young ones how to be an old firefighter,” Tony says. “And I guess I’m considered an old firefighter.”

He pushes new recruits to become certified through a firefighting class before they go anywhere near a burning building.

But it’s his personal experiences, the things he’s learned from years on the job, that he really tries to pass on.

You’re not in it for yourself. You’re there to help others.

Tony Myers

A book can’t teach how personal it feels to look into a person’s eyes as you’re using the Jaws of Life to free them from their car. Or how to handle it when, despite your best efforts, you can’t save someone.

Tony was drawn to firefighting by his desire to help people. That ability to help has grown exponentially through the students he’s taught. ­­

“There’s nothing more rewarding than a former student telling me that something they learned in my class helped them save a life,” he says.


The air smells different when it’s whipping past your face at 60 miles per hour.

Riding his Harley, exposed to the elements, there’s just nothing like that feeling of freedom, Tony says.

One day, he’ll hang up his turnout gear and trade them for a motorcycle helmet for good. But, until then, he’s dedicated to making the next generation of firefighters the best they can be.

It’s that selfless dedication that’s kept him going for so long.

“You’re not in it for yourself,” he says. “You’re there to help others.”

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