Personality: Julian M. Day
Spotlight on 2021 Henrico County Firefighter of the Year
7/15/2021, 6 p.m.
After nearly a decade of service in multiple localities, Julian M. Day received a new kind of spotlight last month.
Mr. Day was named the 2021 Firefighter of the Year for Henrico County by the Short Pump Ruritan Club during a ceremony held June 22 at Shady Grove United Methodist Church.
The club, which recognized someone from each section of Henrico County’s public safety units, honored Mr. Day, a firefighter-paramedic, for his continued outstanding service to the greater Short Pump community.
Mr. Day, who is stationed in the western part of the county at Westerre Firehouse #22 on Westerre Parkway, says he was surprised by the award, which requires a nomination from someone within the county fire department. But it is a welcome reminder of his importance to the department and the value he brings to it and the county.
“It makes me proud to have peers who not only appreciate my accomplishments but believe they need to be recognized,” Mr. Day says.
The Henrico County native grew up around the profession. His father, Arthur Day, is a retired firefighter with the Richmond Department of Fire and Emergency Services. “I was hooked from a young age!” Mr. Day says.
As a student at Hermitage High School, he also participated in the Henrico Fire Explorers, a worksite-based program for teens and young adults to provide them with life skills and career opportunities. He performed well in competitions based on the Firefighter Combat Challenge and continued to participate in the program until he aged out during his sophomore year at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Mr. Day’s interest in the field wouldn’t stop there, however. He served four years as a volunteer with the Hanover County Fire-EMS Department and has worked for the Henrico Division of Fire for the last five years.
He also is working on his master’s in homeland security and emergency preparedness at VCU and expects to complete it in December.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the curriculum (in homeland security and emergency preparedness) and fell in love with it in undergrad,” Mr. Day says.
As a firefighter and paramedic, Mr. Day’s work is intense and dangerous. Training requires a great deal from participants, both physically and mentally. The experience, however, is “100 percent worth it,” Mr. Day says, as his day-to-day work affords him the chance to be a positive force in the lives of many.
And the rewards are numerous, he says, whether it’s the experience of meeting a man he and others on his shift helped revive after a cardiac arrest, or the enthusiasm of kids waving to their passing fire truck.
In a time where the demands and hazards of the pandemic continue to impact his work, Mr. Day sees his work as more important than ever. And with new confirmation that his work is recognized, appreciated and celebrated by his fellow firefighters and others, Mr. Day is looking to give his all for years to come.
Meet Henrico’s Firefighter of the Year and this week’s Personality, Julian M. Day:
Top honor: Short Pump Ruritan Club’s 2021 Henrico County Firefighter of the Year.
Date and place of birth: July 23 in Henrico County.
Where I live now: Henrico County.
Education: Hermitage High School; bachelor’s in homeland security and emergency preparedness, Virginia Commonwealth University; post-baccalaureate certificate in homeland security and emergency preparedness, VCU; and working on master’s in homeland security and emergency preparedness, VCU.
Family: Parents, Marilyn Day and Arthur Day; brother, Jar- ratt Day; and fiancée, Abigail Jordan.
Ruritan Club is: A national organization dedicated to improving communities and building a better America through fellowship, goodwill and community service.
Criteria used for selection for this honor: A nomination from someone within the Henrico County Division of Fire.
First reaction to the news of being selected: Disbelief.
What this award means to me: It makes me proud to have peers who not only appreciate my accomplishments but believe they need to be recognized.
I have been a firefighter for: Nine years; five years with the Henrico County Division of Fire.
Who or what inspired me to become a firefighter: My father worked for the Richmond Department of Fire and Emergency Services. I was hooked from a young age!
Dangers of firefighting: Re- sponding to calls on the inter- state, house fires with hoarding conditions.
Joy of the job: Waving to kids of all ages when we drive by and seeing their faces light up as they wave back.
Training to be a firefighter is: Physically and mentally demanding, but 100 percent worth it.
Most memorable moment as a firefighter: Meeting a man my shift and I helped revive after he experienced a cardiac arrest while running.
How I start the day: Positively. I am a “glass half full” kind of guy.
Three words that best describe me: Passionate, committed and genuine.
Best late-night snack: A good peanut butter cookie!
How I unwind: Reading, watching movies or playing with our Goldendoodles – Tater and Donut.
What I have learned about myself during the pandemic: Sometimes we all just need a reason to slow down and enjoy the life around us.
Something I love to do that most people would never imagine: Following “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” television series.
Quote that I am most inspired by is: “It always seems impos- sible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela
At the top of my “to-do” list: Finishing “A Promised Land” by former President Obama. I started it at Thanksgiving!
Best thing my parents ever taught me: The world owes you nothing. If you want something, you have to go out and earn it.
Person who influenced me the most: I feel like I’m an equal representation of both of my parents.
Book that influenced me the most: “Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds” by David Goggins.
Next goal: Completing my master’s degree.