Roger Conrad, 63, has been volunteering with the Trexlertown Fire Company for eight years. He is currently assistant fire chief. He is retired, after 37 years, from Air Products, where he worked in research labs and the safety department. He and his wife Kathy have two grown children, Jason Conrad and Jennifer Sinclair.
Conrad has been volunteering in various capacities for most of his life -- as a CPR instructor, Cub Scout and Boy Scout leader, and for the National Safety Council. He is a member of the Pennsylvania Association of Hazardous Materials Technicians, the Lehigh County HazMat Team, and he assists the Lehigh County Emergency Management Agency. In the 1990s, he was a band parent at Parkland High School.
What made you want to be a firefighter?
I knew everybody on the fire team, but never had the time to join due to other volunteer obligations and work responsibilities. I kept telling the guys that one of these days I’ll join the fire team. Finally at an Upper Macungie Township Community Days, a team member said they were still waiting for me to join. That next Tuesday night I joined. Since joining Trexlertown’s Fire Team eight years ago, I have averaged over 325 responses per year.
Tell one story you’ll never forget about your firefighting experience.
This past summer while in a Ropes Rescue class, I was attempting to perform a required self-rescue skill while hanging on a rope from the training tower at Mack South. Since I no longer have the strength or agility of a 20- to 40-year-old, it took me 45 minutes to complete the skill. I am sure it was not a pretty thing to watch. But I was determined that the instructor was not going to have to rappel down and rescue me. After a lot of cussing and several stops to just hang there and catch my breath, I finally got free of the snag in the rope and rappelled the rest of the way down. We all had a good laugh.
What do you most want people in the community to know about the work?
It is fun and the fire crews in the township are a great group of men and women. They will do anything to help you. If I can do this at my age, anybody can do it. Come to one of the township stations on a Tuesday night and join.