Justin Ferrari, now 17 years old, saw a need in his community, especially the area high schools, to reach out to other young people who were in need of direction in life. He decided that they too could be a part of the Fire Explorer program in Daytona Beach, FL, where he has been a member for 5 years. During this time, Justin has earned the rank of lieutenant/training officer for the post. He has devoted countless hours volunteering to mentor, train and organize the members of this program. This was accomplished by visiting the high schools, giving speeches about the program and setting up information booths at local events to give young people a hope at becoming medics and firefighters. It should also be mentioned that Mr. Ferrari has a birth defect of a bilateral cleft lip and palate. This may play a role in his empathy for others, but it sure makes giving speeches and talking with the public difficult due to his speech impediment!
All the while, he has also been donating his time and resources to local events which highlights hands on experience for small children in the area of fire safety. Through the "smoke house", a small trailer simulating a house fire that children physically climb through in order to learn how to remain calm and get out fast in the event of a fire, he has devoted many weekends teaching children the lifelong strategies of fire survival. This is his favorite activity. Justin has spent countless evenings developing ideas for the fire safety programs, fund-raising and the explorer program. He has made many recommendations to his advisor, Mr. Fred Godawa, such as a lottery style fund raiser to pay for the needed equipment for the group, a search and rescue operation which would help the entire community in the event of a disaster, a bicycle patrol for medics/explorers to utilize during special events in this city (of which they have many in Daytona Beach) and much more.
He has participated in many drills with local departments such as a terrorist attack, plane crashes and mass casualties. He has also been a member of the Daytona Beach police explorers for 8 months and was actually injured in a "hostage" drill with them, joking with the paramedics about how much worse it could have been (he was injured during a "take down" and was pushed through a thick plate glass window, cutting his back). After getting treated, Mr. Ferrari went back to the drill without looking back. He always gets volunteers to join drills so that they can see how much fun firefighting/police activities can be for them. Mr. Ferrari also likes to show the community that police and fire personnel are not the enemy and are there to help them. He enjoys his leadership responsibilities and takes them as seriously as any adult getting paid for this work would.
Justin has helped many teens in his area by getting them into a structured environment and away from some of the trouble they may have gotten into without that structure. He is a role model for other teenagers. Through his encouragement, shy and isolated teens have joined this volunteer activity and will go on to a career. Although Mr. Ferrari's future is already set as a medic/firefighter, he sees a vital need to reach out to others, not just for a career in firefighting, but to help in any way he can. He has helped many vehicle crash victims, injured people and even performed CPR to save lives.