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Veteran Lights A Fire Under His Career at QCC

February, 2019
  • QCC student veteran Keith Anderson
    QCC student veteran Keith Anderson

As a small child Keith Anderson saw firsthand what it was like to be a fighter. Both his mother and father had been firefighters in the U.S. Air Force and he was able to spend time in different fire houses as a youngster. The early experience stuck with him.

“I just had kind of a natural inclination to join fire service,” he said.

However, fire service would take a back seat to military service and for 14 years Mr. Anderson served in the U.S. Army, ending his military career as a staff sergeant in 2016. About six months before he ended his military career he tossed around the idea of going back to school for fire science.Mr. Anderson’s father-in-law had been a student at QCC and he had always talked very highly of the college, so QCC immediately came to mind. He decided that was the school he wanted to attend.

He said the transition from military life to going back to school was a bit nerve-wracking and he acknowledged he was initially nervous entering college.

“Coming from the military, I felt I didn’t have any control. It had been so long since I was a student of anything,” he said.

Through the help and support of QCC’s Veteran Affairs and the Veterans Club he began his education in fire science at QCC.  He said it was that support that made such a difference in becoming acclimated to college.

“I came straight here (Veterans Club) and they pointed me to all the right offices, helped me with paperwork I was confused about, and got the enrollment process going for me,” he said, adding that an academic advisor was there for him every step of the way. “If the academic side is becoming overwhelming, the Vets Club is a nice place to retreat. It’s a place you can come to talk to people who understand what it was like to be in the military.”

Mr. Anderson plans to graduate in 2019 with a degree in Fire Science and while having a degree is not an actual requirement to being a firefighter, it makes a candidate more competitive.

“It gives you the edge and there’s more opportunity for advancement,” he continued.

While some municipalities have age limits for firefighters many of the smaller communities do not and Mr. Anderson is hopeful he can find a job in one of those communities, ideally the town he currently lives in.

“Really all I’ve ever wanted is to give back to a community that’s given so much to me. I want to do what I can for that little community and hope to get out of it a chance to serve in a selfless capacity,” he said. “I felt like that was what I was doing in the military and I want to continue. That’s what I hope to get out of the degree.”

Mr. Anderson currently lives in Milford with his fiancée and son.