MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- When people join the Marine Corps, they often find themselves leaving behind the life they used to live. The daily grind of active-duty status, along with often being stationed in a different state, makes it difficult to balance one’s military and personal lives.
However, in the case of Cpl. Ryan T. Carroll, he has found how to effectively be a leader to his Marines and continue his passion back home: firefighting.
Carroll, an anti-tank missileman with Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, was recently recognized by the Maryland State Firemen’s Association for his time serving as a volunteer firefighter with the Providence Volunteer Fire Company in Towson, Md.
Carroll served as a volunteer firefighter for seven years at the same fire house. Growing up in a suburb of Baltimore, he basically lived at the Providence Volunteer Fire Company since 2005.
“The people at the fire house are like my extended family,” Carroll said. “We’re very close knit. We are about as close as an infantry platoon is in the Marine Corps. We’ve been together at the fire house for the last seven years, and I’ve met a lot of great people since I’ve been there.”
The association recognizes one person a year in the state of Maryland based on the impact they have on the community, from a local standpoint all the way to a national spectrum.
“The Recognition Award is special to me because it’s not awarded out of each individual fire house,” said Carroll. “It is given by the state of Maryland, and they only give it to one person annually.”
When a volunteer firefighter joins the military, they are still considered active-duty with the fire house as well.
“Even though I can’t go on daily runs with them, I still help out when I can,” said Carroll. “I help out with fundraisers and things of that nature whenever I am able to go home.”
Even though Carroll loves firefighting, he also wanted to be a Marine. He joined in 2010, coming from a military family and wanted to carry on his family’s tradition. Carroll expressed his urge to serve the country, like his family before him has. When his time in the Marine Corps comes to a close, he plans to pursue firefighting as a full-time career.
“I’ve put a lot into the fire department for a long time,” said Carroll. “Continuing to do that while being an infantryman in the Marine Corps isn’t an easy thing to do, especially with a deployment thrown in there. It felt really good to be recognized for something this important to me.”