Jackson “Forrest” Edelman, one of Greenwich Fire Department’s newest members, was practically raised at the Weston Volunteer Fire Department.
His mother, Susan Parkison, joined the WVFD when Forrest was nine, setting him up for a childhood that became defined by firefighting.
“I grew up around the firehouse and climbing on the trucks,” Edelman said.
He joined the department in 2008 when he was 16, the earliest he legally could.
From the beginning, Edelman was attracted to the spirit of loyalty and community at the WVFD.
“I fell in love with the camaraderie and the brotherhood of the department,” he said. “They do a phenomenal job and I am lucky to have grown up here.”
Edelman moved to Weston when he was three, and went to the public schools. In 2014, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in fire science from the University of New Haven, a school that touts one of the “largest and most comprehensive fire programs in the country.”
After he graduated, Edelman worked with the town of Weston as a 911 dispatcher while applying for career firefighter positions in Bristol, Fairfield and New York City before he landing the job in Greenwich.
Edelman’s swearing-in ceremony with Greenwich was Monday, Aug. 17, and since then he has been going to the department for in-house training.
Edelman’s career in Greenwich will be “high speed,” as the department fields more than 4,000 calls annually. He will be working with approximately 100 other career firefighters and volunteer firefighters.
He began a 15-week live-in program at the state fire academy on Monday, Aug. 31, in Windsor Locks, near Bradley Airport.
Each day for Edelman will be different. He will start with physical training every morning at 7:30 and spend a varying amount of time in classrooms and on the training ground.
Time at WVFD
Edelman used the resources available at the Weston Volunteer Fire Department to become a well-trained firefighter.
He completed firefighter I training, a program that teaches firefighters proper protocol and firefighting techniques, while volunteering in Weston.
Edelman also completed EMS training in Weston, along with hazardous materials training and firefighter II training, a more thorough version of firefighter I.
Weston Fire Chief John Pokorny had good words to say about Edelman.
“He did everything he could possibly do to be a better firefighter,” he said.
“He’s a success story for us, a great guy who will do a great job in Greenwich,” he added.
Pokorny thinks Edelman’s success can be seen as a testament to the quality of the WVFD as a whole, noting that the department “got to mold him” during Edelman’s time as a volunteer.
In Pokorny’s 19 years as chief, he said he has seen about 10 Weston volunteer firefighters get career jobs in other departments.
“Training in Weston really lined me up for the career I am starting in Greenwich,” Edelman said. “They really formed me into the firefighter I am today.”
Edelman said that once he gets in the swing of things in Greenwich, he wants to stay as a volunteer in Weston so he can continue to serve his hometown.
“Any time you have a career guy that stays on as a volunteer it helps,” said Pokorny. “He’ll bring tons of training and tons of new ideas to the department.”
“This is a real winner for Greenwich,” said Pokorny. “It’s a win for him, and it’s a win for us.”