A firefighter standing in front of a fire truck.

VRFA Firefighter Swanson Retires

After a 30-year career in the fire service, Firefighter David Swanson looks back on the day that started it all.

“I was fifteen years old and headed down the wrong road when a friend invited me to a meeting of youth Fire Explorers. I watched the firefighters training and working around the station and thought, I want to do this. From that day forward, I focused on becoming a firefighter. The fire department literally saved my life,” said Swanson.

David began volunteering for Pierce County Fire District 7 (Spanaway) at the age of 18. After that, he worked for Puyallup, Caldwell (Idaho), and Bothell Fire Departments. Swanson was hired with the Auburn Fire Department, now VRFA, in 2001 and has served the residents of Auburn, Algona, and Pacific for twenty years.

He successfully tested for and obtained a VRFA Technical Rescue Team position, participating in high-angle, confined space, and water rescues throughout his career. David has spent time at each of VRFA’s five stations, saying that each has positive aspects, but what he enjoyed most was his co-workers.

“It was great working with like-minded people, laughing and sharing both good and bad times with those that you trust,” said Swanson. “The experiences we shared, and what we learned about life on our 24-hour shifts together made me a better man, a better husband, and father.”

“Dave occupies a unique space not only in the VRFA, but in the heart of everyone who knows him. He is always trying to improve himself and those around him. Dave sets a high standard for himself and is never satisfied just because those around him may be. Dave brings a consummate entrepreneurial spirit to everything he does, so I know he will find plenty to keep him interested in retirement. We thank him for his service and wish him the best,” said Fire Chief Brent Swearingen.

Swanson plans to keep busy in retirement, volunteering for the Packwood Fire Department and White Pass Ski Patrol. He also plans to spend time enjoying his kids and working on projects.

To those just starting in a fire service career, he advises, “It is a marathon, not a race, so be humble and don’t take yourself too seriously. Your career will go by fast.”