By Eric Norwood Jr.
PNT staff writer
Reylon Wimbish has accomplished a lot in his first six months as a firefighter and emergency medical technician for the Portales Fire Department.
“Me and another firefighter rescued a woman from a house fire. It was pretty intense,” said the 24-year old Wimbish.
Wimbish was awarded a letter of commendation along with Dathan Culpepper at a Portales City Council meeting in April, a prestigious
honor for a firefighter.
“He’s experienced things that some people don’t experience their whole careers,” said Battalion Chief Lance Hill.
Not bad for a guy who had moved just a month earlier from the big city of Phoenix, Ariz. to pursue his dream of being a firefighter. Wimbish joined the Portales Fire Department in March after finding the job online.
“I’m not going lie. I had never heard of Portales before I saw the job, but I did my research and looked up everything it had to offer and it looked real good,” said Wimbish.
Wimbish got his EMT basics at Glendale Community College in Glendale, Ariz., but had trouble breaking into the field in Phoenix.
“It’s a much bigger place, and it’s real competitive. There’s 10,000 to 20,000 testing out there. And in Phoenix, when you’re an EMT, that’s all you do. When your a firefighter, that’s all you do. I like it out here because I get to do a little of everything,” said Wimbish.
In the past six months, Wimbish has been getting settled in Portales. After being raised in Los Angeles, and finishing high school in Phoenix, Wimbish is getting used to the small town life.
“Man it’s different, definitely different. I’m used to the big cities and beaches and stuff. It’s a lot slower but it’s cool. The people are definitely a lot nicer and more caring,” said Wimbish.
He may have a earned prestigious accomplishment on his first month on the job, but he is still the rookie of the firehouse. Wimbish is often assigned menial duties in addition to fighting fires, and working as an EMT.
“We have a public restroom downstairs. The rookie handles that,” said Wimbish with a laugh. “I wash the ambulances in the morning. At night I have to clean the kitchen. If something needs to be done, you’re the one doing it. You can’t slack and you can’t be the one sitting around,” said Wimbish, who handles these duties in addition to going on almost every call during his shift.
But Wimbish does seem to have earned the respect of his fellow firefighters.
“Rey has brought a lot to the team. He’s motivated, fun, and cares about our community. We hope he stays with us 20 years,” said Chris Smith, a four-year veteran on the Portales Fire Department.
“He works extremely hard every day. He has really gone above and beyond,” said Hill.