Nixon is one of many Seminole Trial volunteers who are current and former UVA students.
UVA alumnus Jeff Bozzone, a Seminole Trail battalion chief, appreciates the students’ enthusiasm and eagerness to learn.
“They are like sponges, in a learning mode in their roles as students,” he said. “They are prepared for learning and do well. It is a matter of, ‘How can I best teach them?’ We have to do that efficiently.”
Bozzone, who studied engineering at UVA in the early 1980s, became a firefighter while he was a first-year student living in Lile House. He said his roommate, who had been a firefighter in Fairfax County, convinced him to volunteer, and they started out at Seminole Trail when its equipment was kept in a large, three-bay garage at the Oakwood Mobile Home Park and the department held its meetings at a church on Rio Road.
Seminole Trail Capt. Alice Thomson described the appeal to students as “multi-level marketing” – “We have washers and driers here and we feed people,” she joked. Thomson, a member of the department for eight years, also found the Seminole Trail Volunteer Fire Department through the activities fair as a student.
“I never thought of this sort of thing before, but then I was approached [at the activities fair] by female member of the department,” she said. “I like being pushed. There were only four female officers here before me. It takes a lot of proving to yourself that you can do it.”