When I was 8 years old my father made me into a great St. Louis Cardinal Baseball fan and a follower of Stan ‘The Man’ Musial. But what my father never realized is that his influence also rewarded me with above average math skills.
Yes, math skills! To impress my father I learned to compute batting averages in my head and could calculate Musial’s daily average before it ever appeared in the newspapers.
As children we are deeply influenced by our parents in many important aspects of life. For Ian Smith growing up in Virginia Beach, Virginia and watching his dad get ready for work each day made a career influence on him.
“I first got interested in the Fire/EMS as a small child watching my dad put on his uniform in the mornings,” Smith said. “He was a firefighter/paramedic and passed away at a very young age.”
Smith didn’t realize his goal of becoming a full time firefighter until 2004 and he later received his Paramedic license in 2007.
“Obtaining a Paramedic license is strictly voluntary within the department and it requires a year of additional training with six months of the training done in Honolulu,” Smith said.
Smith, like most of the County Firefighters, is in top shape. He can often be found on his days off running in various community foot races.
In mid March Smith entered the Big Island Marathon 5K (3.1 mile) race while pushing a jogging stroller with his two children, Noah age 3, and Emi age 1, being towed inside.
Not only was Smith at a disadvantage by pushing the stroller in a competitive race, he ended up winning the race.
Smith’s athleticism goes back to his childhood days when at age 10 he was introduced to youth soccer by his father. He continued into high school soccer, lacrosse and surfing.
“I didn’t actually start running until about 12 years ago,” Smith said.
To stay in shape for the rigors of his job Smith will run 4 or 5 times a week while filling the rest of the week with swimming, surfing and weight training.
“I very rarely run competitively,” Smith said. “I typically run 5 miles four times a week and most of that is with either the single or double jogger.”
Smith started his stroller running when his first child was born as a way of giving his wife a break.
“I started running with my first born in order to get some exercise and to fit in his afternoon nap,” Smith said. “Mom would get a much needed break, so it was a win win for everyone.”
At age 38 Smith admits to being a diehard oatmeal eater.
“The fire department as a whole is realizing the benefits of eating healthy as we choose to go with brown rice, salads and fruits and veggies for snacks.” he said.
The County fire department applied for and received a federal grant to purchase free motion incline trainers and cable cross machines according to Smith.
“The equipment enables multiple fire fighters who otherwise would not have worked out or walked, to workout simultaneously during their afternoon downtime,” Smith said. “We also have a Peer Fitness Training Program that encourages us to eat healthy and exercise.”
Smith believes that the ultimate goal of the Fire Department is to not only be in the best possible physical shape, to better serve the community, but also to enjoy a long retirement.
Smith is the first to tell you that running is not a competitive motivator, but a means to stay healthy.
“I’ve only done a few races and my favorite is the annual EMS Run/Walk,” he said. “Not only does it give the community and Fire Department personnel and family a great venue to ‘hang out,’ but it always benefits a good cause.”
Smith now has his sights on one day doing his first marathon, a distance of 26.2 miles.
“I am currently reading a book called “Run Less Run Faster” and he would like to use the program to hopefully “complete my first marathon this year – the Honolulu Marathon,” he said.
Stationed at the Kawailani Fire Station, Smith admits that getting motivated to exercise isn’t always an easy thing.
“As with anything, some days I just don’t feel like doing it!” Smith said. “Even on those days, however, I always feel a sense of accomplishment when I’m done with my workouts. I always sleep good at night after a good hard run.”
Smith is following in the footsteps of his father. Through his journey with the Hawaii County and learning more about providing Paramedic care it lead to him meeting his wife, Kori.
“I am no longer running on the ambulance as a Paramedic,” he said. “But I am able to provide Paramedic care when I respond to calls on the Fire Engine because many times we will arrive on the scene first if all the nearby ambulances are on other calls.”
We, as a community, are all grateful for the expert care and the great shape that our County Fire Fighters maintain. For FF Smith it was the legacy that his father provided that has lead him here to the Big Island.
And someday should you happen to see a slow jogger coming passing through the streets of East Hawaii remember to smile, say ‘woof’ and never shy away from “Running with the Big Dog.”