Earl “EJ” Ivie knew one thing for certain as a young child: he wanted to be a firefighter.
“All I ever wanted to do with my life is to be a firefighter,” said Ivie, who is the lieutenant of the Hanover (Virginia) Fire Department. “From my earliest memories, I thought of heroic deeds and saving lives. With that in mind, I walked into my local fire station 21 years ago, after finishing my Eagle Scout with the Boy Scouts of America.”
More than two decades later, Ivie still works for that same fire department.
“Hanover Fire and EMS has given me so much through the years,” he said. “It took a chance on a young kid barely out of high school and has allowed me to grow and learn in an environment that encourages learning.”
Ivie was born with a genetic disorder called type 21 classic congenital adrenal hypoplasia (CAH). This disorder affects hormone production in Ivie’s adrenal glands, causing a number of side effects dealing with height, birth defects and pancreas damage.
“I have been blessed with an amazing job that shows me every day how lucky I am to be alive and healthy,” he said. “I understand, however, that I may not be able to perform as a firefighter forever. I can’t predict where my health will be in the coming years; I can only stay positive and work as hard on my health as I can because I know tomorrow is not guaranteed for any of us.”
Ivie is currently pursuing his Master of Public Administration in emergency services management with CSU. He is the recipient of the 2019 CSU fire scholarship.
“One of my earliest mentors told me that I can either be an asset or a liability to my department,” he said. “I am excited to continue my education and work hard every day to be that asset through words and deeds. All of my past struggles and triumphs have prepared me for the educational journey that lays ahead.”
To learn more about the CSU fire scholarship, visit ColumbiaSouthern.edu/Scholarships.