Some kids can’t wait to turn 16 so that they can get behind the wheel, but for Samantha Milewicz, that magic number also meant she was eligible to train as a firefighter and EMT. In fact, on the day she turned 16 (in March 2021), the Armonk youth did the two things she’d been longing to do: She donated blood and dropped off her application to volunteer with the Armonk Fire Department.
In the months that followed, Milewicz completed 300 hours of nightly and weekend training — after school, homework, and soccer practice — and achieved certification as both a firefighter and emergency medical technician at the volunteer-led Armonk Fire Department. “It’s important to me to give back to my community,” she says.
Like fellow volunteers two and three times her age, Milewicz is on call from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day; she’s just not allowed to answer the pager-type device she carries during school hours. Once class is dismissed, though, she’s been known to respond to emergency calls up to four times per day. Recently, Milewicz got to work the exterior of her first structure fire (she’s still not old enough to rush inside a burning building). “A fire scene is very chaotic,” she says. “It was very exciting for me.”
The rising high-school senior hopes to be a surgeon one day and plans to pursue pre-med and STEM courses in college. “The scientific aspect of fire — how it’s fueled and how it’s put out — is all chemistry, and that’s so interesting to me.” It’s a safe bet she won’t leave that interest behind in the classroom, already hoping to join the closest fire department to her campus, wherever that may be.