Sam Wasserman

“You really have to choose to be here,
you have to sacrifice [other things]
but it’s worth it.”

Sam Wasserman

Sam Wasserman


Station 1: Jackson

Where are you from? Milton, MA. 

When and why did you move to Jackson? I moved to Jackson in 2016 right after college. I moved out here because of the wildlife: I was a big environmental science nerd. I wanted to be in this ecosystem and have the outdoor recreation access that you get here.

What do you do in your free time? I snowboard/splitboard in the wintertime, and I’m a huge amateur in pick-up hockey. I love mountain biking in the summertime, and I’m a big pickleball player. Also, I obviously love just cuddling with my dog.

How long have you been a part of JH Fire/EMS? For a year.

What made you want to join JH Fire/EMS? To get a job. I’ve thought about volunteering for a while, and I think it’s just a really cool community to be a part of. 

Can you walk me through your wildland history a little bit? I started in Grand Teton National Park in 2018 and worked there for a while. I worked in Bridger Teton National Forest and then down to Utah for a couple years on a hot shot crew and then came back out here onto the Jackson engine with hopes of volunteering and transitioning to full time with this department.

Are you going to miss it? Yeah; I would like to stay involved. I would like to try to get out on an assignment a year, or on my days off do fuels assignments for 441 in the park. 

In your words, what is your role in the department? To learn the best I can and bring a positive attitude.

What are your current certifications? Fire 1, EMT, Incident Commander 5, Faller 1/Faller c, and then I have a bunch of task books for wildland. 

What are your future goals in the department? It’s hard to think of that right now since this is Day 1, but I would just like to hone the craft of the medical side of things because it’s very new for me. I think down the road, I want to become an engineer and learn more about the fire side because that’s something that would interest me. And also staying involved in wildland and maybe helping in some regard to develop a strong wildland program here in this department.

Favorite part of the job and/or volunteering so far? So far I’ve really enjoyed getting to know everyone: everyone has been super nice and welcoming. I’m excited to enmesh myself into this community.

Most challenging part thus far? You really have to choose to be here, you have to sacrifice other events or times that you spend doing hobbies if you really want to get the most out of it. It’s worth it, but it’s definitely a challenge sometimes.

What advice would you give new recruits? I think that if you see someone else working, always ask if they need help.

What do you wish you had known when starting? Don’t put milk in the eggs.

What is the most valuable trait for someone to have in this line of work? A willingness to learn.

Who is your mentor in the department or who do you look up to in particular? Chance is my assigned mentor, but has also been super helpful in general. Everyone has been awesome, you’ve been super helpful too. People really look out for you here.

How do your family and friends feel about your new schedule? This is easy breezy right now compared to before, but we’ll see how it goes down the line. Right now, it’s really quite ideal. It will be interesting because it’s year-round now: every week, you’re gone a third of the week, versus before when I was gone half a year at a time. It’s going to be a different type of absence for sure. I think this is going to be a lot better, though.