There are few firefighters at age 23 who come into City Fire with a resume to match Ryan Hinz.
He's been a volunteer in Alexander since he was 16. He twice won Firefighter of the Year. He rose to the rank of EMS captain and won awards for his EMS work. He also won a chief's award.
Fire Chief Steve Napolitano said Hinz scored high on his civil service exam and his agility test and excelled at the fire academy.
Perhaps this isn't a surprise. He's the son of career firefighter Marty Hinz, currently a captain with City Fire, and the grandson of a firefighter who also served for several years as Genesee County's emergency coordinator.
Marty Hinz said he almost sees Ryan through his father's eyes.
"I remember when I joined the Alexander Fire Department and became chief down there and how proud my father was," Marty said. "And now I can empathize with his feelings, you know, just the look on his face -- now I understand where he was coming from and now I understand how proud he was. Now I'm just as proud of Ryan."
Napolitano was quick to emphasize that Ryan -- who is assigned to the First Platoon with Marty is assigned to the Third Platoon -- wasn't hired because he was Marty's son. He earned it.
"We're expecting big things from him," Napolitano said. "You know, he's got a good 30-year career out of here. We're expecting the same things that he's done from 16 to 23 to continue over the next 30 years."
Marty, understandably, but with good reason, thinks Ryan is qualified to be a career firefighter.
"Ryan has a certain pride, the intelligence, the humility that it takes to be a good firefighter," Marty said. "He's just a great kid."
Ryan said while he was inspired by his father to pursue a career in fire services, that isn't the only reason he took this career path.
"I like being able to help people," Ryan said. "I know that sounds like a cheesy response but it's just what I enjoy doing."
He said he is proud to follow in his father's footsteps and that serving an Alexander was a great experience that gave him a good idea what a career in firefighting might be like, plus, he said, he formed lasting friendships with his fellow volunteers.
Whatever inspired Ryan to become a career firefighter, Napolitano said it is what will make him an asset to the department.
"We're very fortunate in the fact that we have someone that has that internal desire to want to continue the family lineage and someone that it's not just a job for him," Napolitano said. "That is pretty much everyone in this department. It's a passion. It's not just a job. And that translates to the service delivery that we're able to provide. It's not just going through the motions. It's they live they breathe it and that they value the opportunity to work here. That translates to the service product that we're putting out there.
"To have Ryan, who, again, this is what he wants to do, this is where he comes from. It just enhances our service delivery."
Chief Steve Napolitano, Ryan Hinz, and Capt. Marty Hinz.
The first platoon: The new mentors for Ryan Hinz.