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Bryce Harper Invited to Become Volunteer Firefighter in Arlington

by Katie Pyzyk July 10, 2012 at 10:00 am 8,669 57 Comments

Nationals star Bryce Harper, perhaps most widely known for calling out a reporter for asking a “clown question,” has received a request to try out a new career — firefighting.

The Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Department recently discovered that Harper, an Arlington resident, has always had aspirations of becoming a firefighter. That prompted a formal invitation to the All Star, and any interested teammates, on Friday.

The department learned about Harper’s desire from the Nats blog, which posted a question and answer session with the player.

The department posted the following on its website:

We noticed that Washington Nationals rookie outfielder Bryce Harper, when asked by a fan what he’d be doing if he wasn’t playing baseball, responded that: “I’d probably be a firefighter. Ever since I was growing up, I wanted to be a firefighter or a baseball player. Going into the offseason, I’m going to get my EMT and do the firefighting thing so I have something to fall back on.” Recognizing Mr. Harper’s inner calling as something more than just a savvy PR move, the Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Department invites Bryce Harper, and any other Nat who’d like to come to check out the fire service in the offseason. We’ll look forward to seeing you at our November meeting.

So far, neither Harper nor the Nationals responded to the Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Department’s invitation.

Flickr pool photo courtesy D Rob

  • Vegas

    poor thing couldn’t make it to the toilet in time from the looks of that picture

  • KalashniKEV

    That’s putting a dude on the spot!

    (not cool)

  • nom de guerre

    It looks like he may have taken some classes at the Clown Enema University.


  • amb007

    I’d be willing to guess that there’s a provision in his contract that would prevent him from engaging in activities that have a high probability of causing injury. Perhaps he could do the EMT part, but not the firefighting part. Just pure speculation though…

  • Westover05

    Nationals star Bryce Harper, perhaps most widely known for calling out a reporter for asking a “clown question,”

    He’s also a 19 year old MLB all star

    • Vinh An Nguyen

      Yes, the Washington Post reminds us of this several dozen times each day.

    • Mike


      • Mike

        to Westover05 to be clear.

        • Aaron

          I’m pretty sure that if you polled the average person in the area, more of them would recognize the “clown question bro” line than would know that Bryce Harper is a 19-year old All Star.

          • Openly Gator

            Only the readers of ARLNow.

          • yards555

            Agreed with Openly Gator. He’s a star athlete on a national level and has out-shined even Stephen Strasburg locally. The only reason “clown question bro” was a big deal was because of his celebrity.

  • G::TheNativeArlingtonian

    The Cherrydale Volunteers are not the Arlington County Fire Department. No matter what their spiffy suv says on the side. Harper is best advised to steer away from this “clown” offer and wait until after his baseball career concludes if he’d like to be a firefighter.

    • The Bob

      Not the ACFD? What do you think they are then? Feel like you didn’t really do your research on this one.

      • Truth

        They are definitely NOT the ACFD….neither is the Falls Church Vol Fire Dept.

      • They are not the ACFD. ACFD is a career firefighter department that provides services to the county. They are the Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Department. Maybe you should do your research.

        • Arlington

          http://www.arlingtonva.us/Departments/Fire/faq/FireFaqFAQ.aspx#Q: How can I become a volunteer firefighter
          The volunteer departments are a part of the ACFD.

          • No, they arent. The ACFD puts up a link to them. Dont post if you dont know what you are talking about.

          • Truth

            If the volunteer departments no longer existed in Arlington, it would have ZERO effect on any type of emergency response. If they were part of the ACFD, wouldn’t there be a negative impact if they were no longer around?

          • KH

            Incorrect. The volunteer companies (e.g. Cherrydale, Falls Church) support the ACFD’s emergency response and supplement staff.

            To cite a few specific examples, the volunteers operate a BLS ambulance which relieves load on Paramedic units, letting them stay in service and respond more quickly to ALS calls.

            Also, the volunteers provide scene lighting, support rehab for crews operating on fire ground, and refill SCBA air bottles on major incidents. These activities again allow the paid crews to get back in service more quickly, which in turn improves response and contributes to public safety.

            Volunteers also respond to downed wires calls (e.g. during the recent storms), which allows a fire engine to stay in service in case there are actual fires. Again, contributing to the emergency response.

            I could go on, but you get the picture.

          • Arlington

            Not only are the volunteer departments a part of ACFD, ACFD was born out of the volunteer departments in 1940.

          • Truth

            Volunteers are not needed in a 100% paid fire department like there is in Arlington County. At one point they were and in other parts of the country they still are…..not here. And to accept donations from citizens that are already protected by the ACFD is wrong.

          • Arlington

            Isn’t that like saying that our public schools don’t need volunteers or donations for books and other activities? Sure the world will not come to an end without them, but they add a lot of value for a minimal investment, particularly during surge events like storms.

          • Aaron


            Then they should call themselves the Cherrydale Auxiliary Fire Department because that in truth is what they are in this situation. Somehow I think more people will recognize the term “Volunteer Fire Department” even if that leads to a handful of folks heaping derision on them for only “just” helping the professionals.

          • Volunteer vs. Career

            That is not the correct quote from the website you link to. Here is the posted Q&A:

            Q: How can I become a volunteer firefighter?
            A: Please contact Ian Weston, Volunteer Coordinator of the Arlington County Volunteer Firefighter & Rescue Association. You may reach him at 703-228-4670.

            And the ACVF&RA link is to a non-Arlington website: http://www.acfra.org/

          • Arlington

            Yet, 703-228-4670 is an ACFD number….

          • Volunteer vs. Career

            Right, he *coordinates* with the volunteers. I assume the volunteers want to be helpful to the ACFD.

          • Arlington

            He is a volunteer firefighter, the volunteer fire departments, Falls Church and Cherrydale are the volunteer component of ACFD.

  • Bryce Harper

    You go, we go, Clown.

  • DarkHeart

    Sales of eye-black in Cherrydale are skyrocketing.

  • Truth

    Bryce can help the Cherrydale Vol Fire Dept collect donations since they are so busy responding to emergencies. Maybe the Falls Church Vol Fire Dept can use him as well to do the same.

    • olithedj

      What emergencies would they be responding to? If you are referring to the Career staff, then yes but not the volunteers especially in that clown truck they are storing in the old building.

      • Truth

        I was being sarcastic …..lol

  • Volunteer EMT

    If Bryce wants a rewarding experience as a volunteer EMT or Firefighter, he should steer clear from Arlington. If however he would like to host Bingo nights at the station, Arlington is the way to go!

    Arlington, Alexandria, and Fairfax are notorious for running very non volunteer-friendly stations.

    If he’s serious about this and wants a rewarding experience and actually have patient contact, he should head out to Loudoun or Prince William County.

  • YTK

    One injury on the job as a volunteer and his career with the Nats will be on hold

  • SMG

    Ask Cherrydale the last time a member of their department actually fought a fire. Or even ran an EMS call. Its been a minute.

    However, in volunteer defense, they dont have bingo in Arlington. I think the commenter was thinking of Fairfax.

  • bred

    There is a Ballston volunteer fire department, too. As far as I can tell it’s located on Wilson Drive just east of the McDonald’s in a ACFD firehouse. But I have never seen a BVFD truck, only an SUV.

    • BluemontFred

      Ballston merged with Cherrydale a couple of years ago. there were only a few members of that department

  • nom de guerre

    Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Department: Bryce, how would you like to volunteer for us?

    Bryce Harper: That’s a clown question, bro.

  • Helen

    unfortunately he would have to remove the grill from his balcony. Maybe they should check that out.

  • Joe

    Where does Harper live in Arlington? Is he Zimmerman’s neighbor over in Clarendon?

    • WTF???

      Zimmerman lives in Douglas Park and the volunteers in Arlington and Falls Church (those that are under 70 years old) do not fight fires…. Your tax dollars pay for a highly professional fully staffed fire and ems department. Anyone who would want to actually fight fires and save lives on a volunteer basis should go to Loudoun, Prince William, Prince Georges or Charles County where they are scraping for people to volunteer…. In those places you will get the training, experience and satisfaction of volunteering your time.

    • Southeast Shaniquewa

      Harper stay downtown.

  • Jerome

    Don’t put out my fire. I’m just roasting watermelon bro.

  • Mary-Austin

    Is he really only 19? He looks way older than that.

    • Jane-Dallas

      His hard-livin’ Mormon ways, no doubt.

  • Reade

    Wow, there sure seems to be a lot of misinformation and misrepresentations listed. As a long time member of the CVFD, here are the facts:

    The ACFD is made up of career and volunteer members. Career members staff all the stations, and volunteers provide supplemental staffing.

    In the past decade, many of the volunteer companies folded, but the Cherrydale VFD and Falls Church VFD (which is part of the Arlington system) remain active and have emergency response and support vehicles.

    Many of the volunteer fire companies folded because (as one person previously posted), the County has done very little to support the volunteers, not funding training, equipment or injury/disability insurance.

    99% of the time, the County responds to calls fine without volunteers since it has a full complement of career staff. But there are times when things get busy very quickly (i.e. last week’s storm, 2 alarm fires, winter storms, etc.), and the volunteers provide a ready reserve force to staff supplemental ambulance and support vehicles that are dispatched by the Arlington 911 center on emergency calls. I recall call several big storms when 911 dispatchers gave me a list of 6-8 calls to respond to because the response system was so overwhelmed and there were zero – yes zero – career emergency units available in the County, as well as none available to help from other jurisdictions. It’s also a benefit when a volunteer can provide extra staffing to be a 3rd person on a medic unit or a fourth person on an engine, ladder or rescue truck.

    Some folks may contend that volunteers are not needed in Arlington. But when the 911 center has 75+ calls pending (yes that has happened in the past and will again in the future), and the mutual aid resources and career staff are consumed, then having trained volunteers to assist is crucial. Think about it. Why does the military have reservists? To augment the every day forces when things get busy. Would the folks who say volunteers aren’t needed in the fire department say the military doesn’t need reservists?

    The volunteer vehicles carry equipment that county owned fire trucks don’t carry, such as specialized salvage gear. Many citizens find it nice that the volunteers will respond to help with clean up. And the volunteers provide canteen services (food/drinks) to support career and volunteer members on major incidents.

    The volunteers also support the Police Department with lighting a crime or accident investigation scenes and DWI checkpoints.

    There are incidents when having trained volunteers around is a huge benefit. I think of the time a neighbor had a small fire and a nearby volunteer arrived first to put it out. The time when former CVFD Volunteer Chief Phil Charles found a woman buried alive beneath the rubble of her house that had been leveled by a gas explosion, when everyone else had written her off as dead. Or when former County Board Chairman Charles Monroe dropped into cardiac arrest, and two volunteers from Cherrydale were present and immediately initiated CPR. There are many other examples…

    While the county fire department has done very little to support the volunteers over the years, truth is that the county has commandeered volunteer vehicles to respond to calls when the county’s fleet was consumed. This happened on 9/11, and on many occasions with the volunteer ambulance before the county finally boosted its fleet of reserve ambulances.

    Volunteers train to Virginia State EMT and/or Firefighter certifications, which are also recognized nationally. While some career members have specialized training that volunteers don’t have, there are volunteers who work in the medical or other professions who bring specialized skills to the table themselves. This is mutually beneficial to all the citizens of Arlington.

    While some volunteers are newer and greener, as is true with some career members, there are some very dedicated volunteers who have been around 15-20 years or more and have tremendous experience. Pat Evinger is volunteer who is a great example of this. There would probably be many more experienced volunteers, however, many have left because of the lack of support from the county, and unwillingness to risk their lives when the county won’t even provide them with injury or disability insurance should something unfortunate happen on an emergency call.

    If 9/11 taught us anything, it’s that you the DC area in particular needs both well staffed career fire departments and a strong cadre of volunteers to provide back up. 18% of the responders to the Pentagon were volunteer firefighters and EMTs. Many fire stations were back filled on 9/11 by volunteers so that services could continue to operate seamlessly. Many people don’t know that volunteers from Kensington, MD were called to set up the landing zone for President Bush’s helicopter when he returned to town, because they were already backfilling stations in DC.

    The volunteers rely on community donations to cover costs of training and to purchase and equip emergency support vehicles, and to maintain the volunteer station in the case of Cherrydale. How else will they survive if the county doesn’t allocate them financial resources? Bingo has been gone in Cherrydale for years. If you read volunteer fund raising letters, they are careful to mention that the volunteers work in conjunction with career ACFD members who staff stations. Unlike other towns, the volunteer companies here are very explicit when fund raising to say Arlington has both paid and volunteer members.

    From 1940 until 2011, the community’s donations to Cherrydale, bolstered for many years by the volunteer’s Bingo fundraising, gave the county a FREE fire station. Only in the past 15 years did the county kick in $500 a month to help defray maintenance costs, but this funding was withdrawn when the new Cherrydale station was built. This generosity by donors saved the taxpayers A LOT of money over the years.

    Lastly, we are fortunate to have the resources in Arlington of a well trained career department. The services provided by career members of the ACFD are top notch. We are also fortunate to have volunteers who are willing to provide supplemental staffing and support, and spend hundreds of hours getting state and nationally certified training, despite the fact that they get so little support from the county.

    • RIch

      Nerd Alert!!

    • Don’t drink the Kool-Aid

      Lots of fallacies in this post. Volunteers are not needed, they put up a BLS ambulance when its convenient for them. The enormous call volumes you describe are trees and wires down, not a high priority on the 911 list. In major incidents like that, its overtime staff that puts up utility vehicles. The American Red Cross comes out to provide refreshments to ACFD units as well. There is no need for volunteer units here, they simply call each other up, throw their hand-me-down turnout gear on the rig, and add themselves in the mix. The vols also use that lovely term “supplement” in their fund raising letters. What does supplementing actually mean? It sounds like if ACFD fireman Frank takes off for the day, that Volunteer Harry takes Franks spot on Engine XYZ. That’s not the case. A highly trained and competent ACFD firefighter, just like fireman Frank is called in and paid an overtime rate to fill that seat. Volunteers are not considered minimum staffing, and they never will be. As others mentioned earlier, go to the farther suburbs if you actually want to put in work and not just wear a cute uniform and host birthday parties.

      • Arlington

        It was volunteer staff that ran the utilities on Friday, June 29th,not overtime staffing, and then continued into the morning and day of the 30th in both the County and the City of Falls Church. Even if tree and wire calls are not a high enough priority in your mind, it apparently is in the minds of the citizens that called them in to 911. The utilites that were in service were able to free up the suppression units to return to quarters sooner and be ready for those emergencies that would be a priority in your mind or a matter of saving life and property.

        Supplemental staffing on suppression apparatus is just that, supplemental. It is add on staffing above the minimum that helps get things done. Some of those riding are just recruits learning the ropes and generally stay outside, while others are trained to the same minimum FFI/II level as any career firfighter in the county, and in some cases higher. No one has ever claimed volunteers count for minimum staffing in the last few decades, except for the days after 9/11 when they did cover some of the backfill. The volunteers provide cover above the minimum. Volunteers do not take any hours away from any career firefighter in Arlington County, no one loses the chance at extra overtime pay or regular time pay. So where does this animosity come from? I would think the career firefighters would love to have Bryce come out and serve as a volunteer, I figure he can get the department members free tickets!

        And the Red Cross has severly cut services in the last year due to a reduced budget, I don’t think they provide the canteen services any more.

        • Don’t drink the Kool-Aid

          It’s crowded enough for the career staff in county pumpers and ladder trucks. They don’t need an extra hurdle to climb over and slow them down. The volunteers may have paper qualifications, but unless they show up on a consistent basis (which they don’t), and regularly train with and do the non-glamorous work with the crew, then they’re just a liability. A loose screw in a well oiled machine. As far as the numerous career firefighters I have spoken to both in Arlington and Fairfax Counties, they do not do any critical tasks on the fireground, and most officers will turn away Vollys. There is a place and a need for volunteers, just not in this county.

          • Curious George


            So I’m curious, why are you so angry? It doesn’t seem to me that you are even giving the volunteers a chance. Have you ever gone to their station and visited them? These people are contributing their time and money trying to help out their community. You may not agree about their need in the area, and you are entitled to that opinion, but why spew so much hate on the message boards against a group of people that just want to help? Being that it’s a volunteer force that uses donations for sustainment, if you disagree, just don’t contribute. Let others decide the value of the volunteer force themselves. There’s no need to be so vehemently opposed to something that doesn’t affect you if you don’t want it to.

            Bottom line… these men and women are trying to do something to help and improve their community… that’s more than what can be said for many people… and for that they should be applauded.

  • flowers

    Well put Reade! I could tell from the postings that most of the people sounding off seemed like they were career firefighters. How sad that they use a forum like this to post their thoughts in such an inflammatory way. My mother was recently transported to the hospital by the Arlington Falls Church Volunteer Ambulance when she became overcome by heat during the recent power outage. They were so nice and caring and the EMT who helped her was a full time nurse who volunteers with them. I wonder if the senior leadership of the career fire department condones the type of attitude some of the posters here exude. I say go ahead and volunteer Bryce. Go Nat’s!

    • knowyourstuff

      The medic unit that says Falls Church Volunteer Department on the side is actually staffed with Arlington medics. The volunteer departments that ask for donations in Arlington are scamming old people and fooling those who are not informed. I am not saying the volunteers hearts are in the wrong place but they are not needed and they know better. Our taxes here in Arlington provide us with the consistency in service we need.

      • Arlington, Northside

        Actually there are multiple ambulances at station 6 which are lettered for Falls Church VFD and ACFD. Two are manned by volunteer EMTs for BLS calls on weekends and during periods of extreme call volume, one is manned 24/7 by two career Paramedic/Firefighters and sometimes supplemented by volunteer EMTs, it responds to ALS and BLs calls.

        • Don’t drink the Kool-Aid

          Again with that word “supplemented”.

          • Arlington, Northside

            And your point?

  • WOW

    You know I really wanted to be a career firefighter in Arlington county, lived here my whole life and have had nothing bad to say about them…until now. Y’all are really making yourselves out to look like a bunch of pricks! AVFD does indeed contribute, maybe not as much as y’all do…but they provide help during critical times. They also beat you to the punch at times, I should have been killed in a terrible accident on Military Rd a while back…guess who showed up first and got my ass out and off to VHC. I’ll give you a hint…it wasn’t the Career kids.


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