Student Spotlight: James Boettcher



James Boettcher and his fellow firefighters work the Shattered Dreams event at BHS last spring.

Lindsey Hardin, Editorial Team

The sirens blare as the trucks race down the street and he watches as the truck passes slower traffic and zooms towards the wreck. It was another day for him to help, and he is ready for the action. When he makes it to the scene, he knows exactly what he needs to do. It’s all in a day’s work for the volunteer fire department and volunteer number 636.

Sophomore James Boettcher has been a volunteer first responder with the Buffalo Fire Department for the past two years.

“I started volunteering because I admire my dad and his work as a volunteer firefighter,” he said. “I love my work because I get to help people.”

Robby Boettcher, James’ father, is the Assistant Fire Chief at the fire department.

“My dad takes me out whenever he gets a call,” Boettcher said. “I can’t drive yet, so I have to go with him, but that doesn’t make it any less exciting.”

Last year, FCCLA demonstrated the dangers of distracted driving and driving under the influence with their ‘Shattered Dreams’ project. A part of the demonstration included the firefighters showing up to help the situation, and he rolled in alongside the rest of the team. During the project, Boettcher helped in removing the doors from the crashed vehicles and getting the “harmed” teenagers out of their cars.

“I really liked participating in Shattered Dreams,” Boettcher said. “It was like a real assignment, which are always exciting.”

During the 2021 Homecoming Bonfire, Boettcher was alongside the fire department in keeping the fire at a safe level. The bonfire was much larger than it was anticipated to be, with more than 1,000 pallets being burned rather than the expected couple hundred. The half of the parking lot next to the bonfire was difficult to walk on due to the heat, and while others were enjoying the bonfire activities, Boettcher was helping out with fire-breaks and moving flammable objects.

“I had to have my helmet angled because it was so hot,” he said. “If I looked at the fire head on it was like someone blowing my face with a propane torch.”

also plays trombone in the marching band and jazz band. He says it is a super fun instrument and one of his favorite things to do in his free time.

“It doesn’t really matter what I’m doing,” James said. “If I’m playing my instrument I’m having fun.”

The fire department is working on starting a fire academy through the school that will also doing EMT training.  Volunteer and professional firefighters are exempt from paying college tuition fees, so joining the fire academy could be a very viable way to receive tuition exemption.

“If more people know about the fire academy and want to have it, then it’s more likely to be put into the school curriculum,” James said. “It’s a great opportunity.”