The chief of the Lake County Fire Rescue Division was an Army medic

Lake County Fire Rescue Division Chief Stephen Davis has a saying, “Make people work for you because they want to, not because they have to.”

Technically, he stole that saying from a mentor, but that’s what he’s lived with ever since.

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Davis is a third-generation Army veteran. Her father served in the Army National Guard and her grandfather served in World War II. He grew up in East Orange County and always knew he wanted to join the military.

“There were two reasons I chose the military,” Davis said. “One because my father and my grandfather were in the army, but also because they were the first to give me a t-shirt.”

Stephen Davis' grandfather, left, and father, center, were also in the US Army, making Davis, right, a third-generation Army veteran.

Davis enlisted in 2000 after graduating from high school. He completed Advanced Individual Training (AIT) where he became a medical doctor and EMT certified.

“I originally wanted to be a firefighter, but when I showed up they said their program had changed and I was encouraged to become a doctor instead,” Davis said.

Stephen Davis in front of a Black Hawk helicopter while on duty in California.

For the first two years of his service, Davis was stationed as an infantry medic in Germany where he participated in training missions, worked in the dressing station and helped the guys in the field carry a 60 pound rescue bag.

It was also here that Davis met his wife, Veronika. The two married in Orlando and have two boys, Caiden and Kai.

After leaving Germany, Davis went to flight medical school in Alabama and worked in California as a flight doctor on a Black Hawk with the US Army Air Ambulance Detachment.

Stephen Davis, left, and his buddies while serving in Germany.

“Primarily I rode with two riders and a crew chief, covering the National Training Center (NTC),” Davis said. “Everyone who was deploying was coming to train at NTC, so if a guy was out in the middle of the desert and needed help, we would respond.”

Davis said he was also used by the region for transportation assistance if they could respond more quickly.

“In the desert, it could take an hour for an ambulance to arrive, so sometimes we were called in to help get people to the hospital,” Davis said. “I remember that time when I was called in to transport a burn victim to Los Angeles because of the severity of his burns. Basically, we helped where we were needed.

Stephen Davis picks up a person in a Black Hawk helicopter while serving as a flight medic in California.

Davis has completed his four years after being ranked Sergeant E5 and has come to a crossroads in his life. Did he continue in the army? Did he realize his dream of becoming a firefighter? He didn’t know so he decided to put him to the test.

“I started taking a special forces course and I figured if I wasn’t taken care of, I had my answer,” Davis said. “I ended up failing the selection process, but I was already in the hiring process with Orange County Fire Rescue.”

Stephen Davis is a third generation Army veteran.

Then it was not picked up there either.

But Davis didn’t give up. He worked with a local ambulance service until he finally got the call to join the Orange County Fire Department. There he was instrumental in establishing the department’s dive team and served as a truck lieutenant and battalion commander.

Stephen Davis was instrumental in starting the diving program at Orange County Fire Rescue.

Fast forward 15 years, Davis joined the Lake County Fire Rescue in January as the new division chief.

“One thing that I’ve really taken from all of my experiences is leadership,” Davis said. “I had good and bad leaders, but they all taught me something and I was able to use them to create my own style of leadership. I think being a good leader and having a positive influence is what life is all about.

Stephen Davis served as an Army medic before joining the Orange County Fire Department and most recently as Lake County Fire Division Chief.

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