Landing firefighting jobs in their hometown means a lot to the newest members of the Seymour Fire Department.

City natives Nicholas Hampton, 36, and Matthew Stuckwisch, 23, started Aug. 26 and were sworn in the next day during a Seymour Board of Public Works and Safety meeting.

“I had applied elsewhere, too, just to get in somewhere but with the goal of getting back to Seymour,” Hampton said. “This is the community that I grew up in, so it’s a community I wanted to serve.”

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Stuckwisch spent five months with the Greensburg Fire Department before receiving a call about an opening in Seymour. During that time, he was living in Seymour.

“I had a six-month time frame where I was going to need to relocate,” he said. “This job came up about perfect timing to where I didn’t have to move. I’m just very appreciative of this opportunity and look to make the best of it.”

Seymour Chief Brad Lucas said Hampton and Stuckwisch were hired to replace two firefighters who retired. The department, which has three stations in the city, now has 39 firefighters.

“These were the last two I hired from a list we created two years ago,” Lucas said. “I am starting another hiring process now. It will take some time to get a list together. There is an application, physical agility test, written test and interview process. There will be an opening next June due to retirement, also.”

Toward the end of his years at Seymour High School, Hampton began working for his father’s towing and body shop business, which often put him at the same scene as firefighters.

“Just always being around them and seeing what they do, it was something of interest,” he said. “It always seemed like a very rewarding, gratifying job, and what you do makes a difference and it matters, helping people, giving back to the community. I always kind of stayed with the family thing and remained there, and the opportunity presented itself for me to do my own thing, so I decided to pursue it finally.”

A couple of years ago, Hampton learned the Seymour Fire Department was beginning a hiring process, so he filled out an application and began working toward earning fire, hazardous material and first responder certifications.

“It definitely gave me more motivation and let me know that that’s definitely something that I wanted to do,” he said.

Hampton said it has been fun starting a new job. He occasionally still helps at his father’s business and also assists his wife at her shop in the city.

Stuckwisch said he was drawn to firefighting during his junior year at Trinity Lutheran High School in Seymour.

“I got exposed to it a little bit here and a little bit there and got some more information about it and pursued it,” he said.

After graduating from Trinity in 2011, he went to Vincennes University for a year-and-a-half before transferring to Ivy Tech Community College and finishing out his associate’s degree in applied science.

He then filled out applications and took tests to become a firefighter. March 16 was his first day on the job at Greensburg.

“When I was up there, a lot of the stuff we did was the first time that I had done anything like that,” Stuckwisch said. “You learn about the guys you work with, and you learn how they operate and things you do there.”

That experience helped when he began at Seymour.

“In ways, you start all over again, learning new people, learning everything about them,” he said. “But a lot of the techniques and stuff are the same. A few adjustments, but nothing major.”

Hampton and Stuckwisch are close to two months on the job, and they both said it has been good so far.

“I guess what I’m looking forward to right now is just experience with the job and further educating myself on everything,” Hampton said. “I might eventually plan on going on to get other certifications once everything slows down for me. Right now, I’ve got a lot to learn the first year.”

Stuckwisch also said he may pursue further education.

“There’s always going to be training, but if there are classes that come up, I’ll probably end up taking some,” he said. “But right now, I’m just focusing on this job, just wanting to get my head in place here and then eventually move up the ladder as opportunities come when they are appropriate.”

Hampton file

Name: Nicholas Hampton

Age: 36

Hometown: Seymour

Residence: Seymour

Education: Seymour High School (1998); Ivy Tech Community College (2002, associate degree in business administration); Central Nine Career Center (2014, firefighting certifications)

Occupation: Firefighter with the Seymour Fire Department

Family: Wife, Brandy Hampton; children, Presley, 9, and Isaac, 7

Stuckwisch file

Name: Matthew Stuckwisch

Age: 23

Hometown: Seymour

Residence: Seymour

Education: Trinity Lutheran High School (2011); Ivy Tech Community College (2014, Associate in Applied Science degree)

Occupation: Firefighter with the Seymour Fire Department

Family: Parents, Brian and Jenny Stuckwisch; siblings, Samantha Stuckwisch and Luke Stuckwisch

Author photo
Zach Spicer is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at zspicer@tribtown.com or 812-523-7080.