Quaker Valley graduate has burning desire to help those in peril

| Wednesday, July 31, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

When talking with Marty Davis on the phone, it's not hard to guess what kind of career path he hopes to follow.

Davis, 18, of Leetsdale, occasionally pauses as he listens via a portable radio to possible emergency calls in between the static noise in the background.

It's all about helping people — whether he ends up as a paramedic, a medic, a flight medic or works in emergency medicine, he said.

“I joined the fire department to help people. There was really no other rhyme or reason,” said Davis, who has been a volunteer firefighter for more than four years, starting with the now-former Edgeworth department, then moving two years ago to Leetsdale. This year, he began working with the Berkeley Hills Fire Company in Ross Township.

Davis graduated in June from Quaker Valley High School and also from the public safety technology program at Parkway West Career and Technology Center in North Fayette.

He works as a basic emergency medical technician for Robinson Emergency Medical Service in Robinson Township and said he plans to enroll in the paramedic program at Community College of Allegheny County.

Davis placed 10th in the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference's fire-fighting division competition held last month in Kansas City, Mo., receiving a perfect score in one of the challenges.

The organization is a national student organization that offers training for its members and hosts competitions for career and technical students in a variety of fields, according to its website.

Leetsdale fire Chief Ernie Logan said he isn't surprised Davis did well in the competition.

“I wish I had a half dozen more like him,” he said. “He's always willing and eager to learn.”

To quality for the national competition, Davis first had to win both a regional round held at McKeesport Area High School and the state event in Hershey.

Davis said his public safety instructor chose him to compete in the competitions two years in a row because of his grades and work ethic in the Parkway program, where he studied fire-fighting techniques and other skills.

Davis, who competed against 25 others in the national firefighter division based at the Kansas City Fire Academy, said the hardest part of the national event was a timed Contestant Physical Agility Test.

Davis said even though the competition was difficult, he received a perfect score, finishing the challenge in less than the 10 minutes required, with no safety infractions.

He competed in the SkillsUSA competitions for the first time last year when he placed first in the local round at Parkway, and sixth at the state competition in Hershey.

This year, he was the only Parkway student to attend the national competition. However, five other Parkway students also competed in the state competition this year, including Quaker Valley senior Zach Mancuso, 17, of Leet Township, who placed first in the masonry division locally and fifth in the state.

Davis said the best part of the national competition was talking with different firefighters and EMTs to “see how different they do things in their states.”

Joanne Barron is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-324-1406 or jbarron@tribweb.com.

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