Sheffield Lake salutes veterans

Friday, Nov. 11, is Veterans Day when America recognizes the men and women who have stepped forward to serve thereby ensuring our safety and preservation as a free country. According to 2016-2020 U.S. Census data, 729 veterans reside in Sheffield Lake.

The city is proud to have 11 employees who are military veterans.

Fire Department

Lt. Wes Mariner – U.S. Marine Corps

Police Department

Ofcr. Antonio Baez – U.S. Marine Corps/Army Reserves

Ofcr. Brandon Brooks – U.S. Marine Corps

Dispatcher Valerie Catalano – U.S. Army

Sara Davis – U.S. Army

Ofcr. John Fisher – U.S. Marine Corps

Sgt. Frank Goscewski – U.S. Coast Guard

Ofcr. Michael Hendrickson – U.S. Air Force

Ofcr. Audali Torres – U.S. Marine Corps

Service Department

John Galippo, U.S. Marine Corps

Steve Simpson, U.S. Marine Corps

Trust and respect learned serving in the military applied to work as a firefighter/paramedic

Lt. Wes Mariner

Fire Lieutenant Wes Mariner knew from the time he was five years old that he wanted to be a firefighter. His South Amherst hometown had an all volunteer department and when the old siren sounded, “I remember everybody – baseball coaches and other dads in the neighborhood – seeing them all run and then seeing them on the trucks. I always had a fascination with it.”

He enlisted in the Marine Corps after graduating from Firelands High School believing he’d gain experience as a firefighter during his time in the service and knowing the GI Bill would get him additional training as a firefighter/paramedic. He was right because he was sen to to Kuwait and Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 where he was assigned to crash fire rescue. In civilian terms, it means he traveled in a convoy of fire engines about one mile behind forward forces working on battle damaged equipment. Once U.S forces entered Iraq, he helped set up forward operating bases.

At age 19, Mariner became a section leader responsible for eight Marines and $1 million in equipment.

“It’s a dangerous line of work but I had no problem accepting responsibility and the potential liability associated with it. In the military, you gotta trust the guys above you, working with you and beneath you. It requires respect for the job and people who do the work, something I’ve tried to bring over to the fire service.”

Officer uses military training to build relationships in community

Ofcr Brandon Brooks

Police Officer Brandon Brooks recalls the appreciation members of the public showed one of his friends who joined the military after high school graduation. “You put on that uniform and people look up to you,” he said.

Brooks served eight years in the U.S. Marine Corps, attaining the rank of staff sergeant. During his time in the service, he was deployed to the Middle East on the USS America. As a trained communications field wireman, it would have fallen to Brooks to go ashore and establish commuications between forces on the ground if there had been an emergency or attack.

His training helped him develop his own leadership style which served him well when he was in charge of a 60 member platoon. “It’s important to get a feeling for your troops and learn how to interact with everyone, given different personalities and attitudes,” he said, adding he uses his military experience today when interacting with members of the community. “Developing relationships is so important in working with the community.” He said he has enjoyed speaking to groups like the local Girl Scout Daisy Troop. He says his interaction with kids helps them understand, “Police aren’t that bad. They’re pretty cool.”

“You go out there and do your job and people begin to recognize your name. It’s a good feeling to know people have faith in you.”

Editor’s note: watch the website for more stories about Sheffield Lake employees.