By Morgan Bryce
For Opelika Fire Department Capt. Kenneth Blair and his son Logan, the father-son connection extends beyond family to hearts full of a desire to serve and give back to their communities.
Kenneth, a 22-year veteran of the OFD, said he gave Logan numerous opportunities through his childhood to experience the way and life of a fireman.
“With me being in the fire service and him being raised around a lot of the fire department and around some of the other guys’ kids as well, he got to be a part of the firehouse camaraderie and see some of the training that we do and grow up in that type of atmosphere,” Kenneth said. “I think those experiences are a part of his desire to do this.”
Logan, who is 19 years old, works full-time in construction and part-time with the Alexander City and Dadeville fire departments. His original plan was to pursue a career in the Marine Corps after graduating from high school, but he was medically declined last year.
“When I found out that I wasn’t accepted into the (Marines), I decided that there was still a greater chance for me to be a firefighter. Ultimately, my dad and his heart for this line of work was my inspiration to do this,” Logan said.
The two’s passion for firefighting merged at a recent fire-training exercise for OFD members and other area fire departments. Suiting up together, the duo participated in a search-and-rescue drill which allowed Kenneth to share his deep knowledge of firefighting with Logan.
“What he has learned over 20-plus years of being in firefighting, it’s hard to learn all of it that quick. He tried to teach me what he could on the spot, like staying low, keeping a constant look on your TIC (thermal imaging camera) and lots of other stuff,” Logan said.
Kenneth said those minutes shared with his son were hard to encapsulate in words.
“It was pretty touching for me to know that some of the first training he gets is something that I get to be a part of and help him build up. It gives me a lot more confidence that he’s getting started out right and that me, his father, could be a part of that,” Kenneth said.
After finishing EMT school, Logan said he will begin fire school and pursue the occupation full-time if he passes.
“I’m thinking he’s going to be a better firefighter than me one day. He really has a desire for the fire service, and I think he’s going to do really, really well,” Kenneth said.