Rhinebeck native David Feeney might still be a teenager, but he has already been ‘adulting’ for quite some time! Just months after turning 16, the legal age to get a driver’s license in New York State, he enthusiastically signed on to volunteer as part of the Rhinecliff Fire Department. And within two years after starting that role, he completed training with NDP EMS and obtained certification as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), at which point he launched his full-time career with us.
Now 19 years old, David works full-time as an EMT and serves in a volunteer leadership role at Rhinecliff Fire Department as Rescue Captain. We recently caught up with him to learn more:
David, tell us more about your journey.
I was born and raised in Rhinebeck and went to Rhinebeck Schools. A couple of my friends, the Lane brothers, got involved with the Rhinecliff Fire Department, and when I was 16, they encouraged me to join as well. I had the free time and felt up for a new challenge, so I went for it. And not long after I started, I found out that there was going to be an EMT class sponsored by NDP EMS. Although I was still in high school, I decided to sign up. It was initially postponed due to the pandemic, so I ended up taking it during my senior year at Rhinebeck High School and had my certification, started working part-time, and had a full-time job set up at NDP EMS before I even graduated in 2021. I’m so glad that I did it. And since I am a member of Rhinecliff Fire Department, the EMT course was all paid for because they sponsored me.
As a young kid, were you drawn to emergency vehicles?
Oh yeah, I think most kids are - the lights and speed and everything! I’m sure it never once crossed my mind that I would one day get to drive emergency vehicles; I think the 5-year-old version of me would be pretty impressed!
What has it been like to answer calls in your hometown area?
I have always loved living in a small town and the fact that our family knows so many people here. But I have actually realized that there are so many people I don’t know, who I end up meeting through these roles with NDP and the fire department. I’ve also discovered how many roads I never knew existed! So I’ve gotten to know my hometown - the people and the place itself - much better through my work and volunteering. It’s been really cool.
What is your schedule like?
I started part-time when I was still finishing high school, but I’m full-time now and I love the flexibility with our hours. I have been doing four 12-hour shifts and will soon change to 3 days but keep the same number of hours which will be nice. We all have so much opportunity at NDP EMS to create schedules that work for us, and even have the chance to work from different stations in other communities. It’s a big perk to this field and I am grateful for that.
What do you most love about working at NDP EMS?
All of it! As mentioned, the scheduling flexibility is awesome. I also really love working with my partners and the other people at NDP, and of course the work itself is very rewarding. It feels good to do something where I can help others in some capacity each day.
What is your vision for the future?
I like the field and there’s room to grow into the Paramedic role, so I’ll look forward to pursuing that when the time comes. I want to stay in this area - and also continue my volunteer service to Rhinecliff Fire Department - I’m enjoying being the Rescue Captain there now too.
What do you like to do in your free time?
When I’m not working or volunteering, I enjoy skiing, motorcycling, and shooting. I’ve also been doing Tae Kwon Do for 12 years now; I am a third-degree black belt and used to compete in sparring as well!
If you could talk to someone considering this field or EMT training, what would you say?
Get started on your training! It’s a great opportunity. I’m so glad I got started right away while I was still in high school and I’m really happy to be on this path.
Learn more about fulfilling career opportunities at NDP EMS by visiting ndpems.com/careers today.