Dylen Markland: Generations of firefighters

Published 4:30 pm Monday, July 13, 2020

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Firefighting runs in the family for Dylen Markland.
“My father, my grandfather and my great-grandfather were firefighters with Roan Mountain Volunteer Fire Department,” he said.
Markland, who has worked for the Roan Mountain VFD for seven years, said coming from a long line of firefighters, as well as a fire that left the home of his grandmother and late grandfather destroyed, a role in his decision to continue the family legacy of firefighting.
“It made me want to give my time to the department and give back to them for their help during that time,” he said.
When elaborating on what it’s like to be in a fire, Markland said it is “indescribable.”
“Both the excitement and the fear we face going into any type of fire is what makes the job worth every second we put in and all the time we put into training,” he explained.
To cope with painful scenes, Markland said it varies.
“Coping with the calls that involve death, life-threatening injuries, or even loss of property of everyday people we know outside of the department is something everyone copes with differently,” he said. “Personally dealing with such comes from the Grace of God and the love and support from friends, family, and fellow firefighters.”
Markland also said that wise words from their Assistant Chief have helped him cope.
“After the first bad call that I personally ran, our Assistant Chief said, ‘just remember we didn’t cause the situation or put the individuals in that situation, we just showed up with a job to do and do our best to help make their situation better,’” Markland recalled. “That has stuck with me to this day.”
Markland said his favorite part of being a firefighter is helping community and neighbors during unexpected times and emergency situations. He is also thankful for the friendships he has made in all the Carter County and Avery County volunteer departments, Elizabethton City Fire, Carter County EMS, and Carter County Sheriff’s Department.
In addition to his work as a volunteer firefighter Markland also works for the City of Elizabethton as a WWTP Operator.
For those wanting to become a firefighter, he has some words of wisdom to pass on.
“Be willing to sacrifice your time, both personal time and time with family and friends,” he said. “Also, be willing to listen and learn. Classes and training are never ending when becoming a firefighter. The older generation of firefighters are the greatest teachers and mentors in the fire service.”

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