Some children learn about an occupation through their parent’s choice of work. That’s certainly true at the Columbus Fire Department, which has 13 pairings of fathers and sons who have worked as firefighters, including three pairs who are on the job now.

With Father’s Day approaching on Sunday, we asked the sons why they chose firefighting as a career, and we asked the fathers about the advice they gave their children about choosing a job that is all about helping people and their community.

Columbus Fire Chief Dave Allmon said occurrences of parents and children serving as firefighters in the same department might be more prevalent nationwide, but Columbus always takes notice when the son or daughter of a firefighter is interested in the career and wants to work in the hometown.

Allmon even has a funny story about Jarrad Mullis, who is on the department with his father, Rick Mullis, and used to visit the fire station often. Allmon remembers Jarrad making it a point to always kick the future fire chief in the shin when he visited the fire station, something that he’s sure the Columbus firefighter doesn’t remember now. He described Jarrad Mullis as someone who is as close to a model firefighter as could be found.

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“This is a calling,” Allmon said of the fathers and children who work together in the fire department, and those who followed in their father’s footsteps.

Father and son firefighters

The Columbus Fire Department has many father-son combinations who have served in Columbus or with other fire departments. Here’s a list provided by the fire department, with son’s name followed by father’s name.

  • Lt. Steve Ahrmann and the late CFD firefighter Robert Ahrmann
  • Firefighter Doug Harrison and retired CFD firefighter Larry Harrison
  • Capt. Andy Lay and Shelbyville Fire Department firefighter Paul Lay
  • Lt. Jeff Cain and retired CFD firefighter Steve Cain
  • Firefighter Jim Miller and the late CFD firefighter James Miller
  • Firefighter Eric Robertson and retired CFD firefighter Dave Robertson
  • Firefighter Josh Conrad and retired CFD firefighter Steve Conrad
  • Firefighter Greg Williams and retired CFD firefighter Jim Williams
  • Firefighter Andrew Jordan and retired CFD firefighter Mike Jordan
  • Firefighter Ben Spencer and Vernon Township (Jackson County) firefighter Ron Spencer.
  • Firefighter Matt Dwyer and Capt. Dave Dwyer; Dave Dwyer’s father Lawrence Dwyer, retired from Bedford Fire Department
  • Firefighter Ben Noblitt and Fire Inspector Matt Noblitt, and Matt’s father Robert Noblitt, former Jonesville volunteer firefighter 
  • Firefighter Jarrad Mullis and Lt. Rick Mullis