September 22, 2023

Cancer Survivor Seeks Advancement as Fire Safety Officer as Way to Give Back

Curtis Woody Jr. is a fire captain with the Greensboro Fire Department in North Carolina. Together with his wife, a nurse, they are raising two children, striving to lead lives of impact and servanthood.

“As with any family in public service, we spend the majority of our lives helping others. I don’t do it for the pay, but instead I do it to help people.”

Woody is the recipient of the 2018 CSU Fire scholarship, which will cover up to 60 hours in one online degree program. He plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in fire administration.

“I feel that with this degree and advancement within my department, I could continue to help those around me,” he said.

“I met with a retired captain a few weeks ago and I told him that I really liked where I was as a captain and I thought I would stay there. He looked me in the eyes and said, ‘you are not going to like this, but that is selfish.’ I took it in and he said, ‘As a captain, you have an impact on four to eight people at your station. As a battalion chief, you could have an impact on so many more people.’ It really opened my eyes and made me realize that I want to impact as many people as I can while I am here.”

Now, Woody plans to seek advancement to the battalion chief level at his department and then to a safety officer position later on.

This goal is fueled by a subject that hits very close to home for Woody.

“Cancer research is an important issue that we are working with right now. I guess it is a subject that hits close to home being a cancer survivor myself. I just don’t want people to have to go through what I went through when I was told I had cancer,” he said.

Woody is passionate about educating others on the growing issue of cancer in the fire service industry and has been a part of implementing programs in his department to minimize the risk.

“When I came to the department 17 years ago, heart attacks were the number one killer of firefighters. Today, cancer has taken over,” he said. “If I can do anything to keep others from having to go through what I did, then I feel that I have done my job.”

“Being a safety officer, I believe I could have the greatest impact on firefighter safety within the department. Being in that role, I could continue to fight for new ways to keep our firefighters safe and help take care of those who might be going through issues with their health.”


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