After losing his left leg while serving in Afghanistan, Air Force Tech Sergeant Daniel Fye had no idea what the future had in store for him. But there was one thing he was sure of, he wasn’t going to let his injury prevent him from going after his dreams. “I didn’t want to let it limit me or define who I was going to be,” he says.
Dan started working hard at the gym, trying to see what his body was capable of and how far he could push himself. When he and his family received their HFOT home in Bremerton, Wash., in 2017, Dan felt it was time to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a firefighter. He contacted Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue and discussed what he could do within the department. He started out as a volunteer and then was given a chance to apply for a slot in the next fire academy. After going through the interview process and passing the physical abilities test, he was selected for the South Sound Fire Academy on Vashon Island and is scheduled to graduate in November 2018. “Going from not being able to walk for almost two years without assistance to pushing myself in the Fire Academy is a pretty amazing feeling,” he says. “To try and accomplish a dream I had as a kid and to do it at the age of 38 with my injuries is surreal.”
Even if he only remains on the department as a volunteer, Dan says he will still feel satisfied with what he has accomplished. He encourages others to never stop believing in themselves, no matter what the circumstances. “One of the things I have learned so far in my life is to never stop pushing forward and never stop challenging yourself, no matter how difficult that path might seem,” he says. “If I make it, great. If not, still great because I know I tried.”
Dan says his journey to becoming a firefighter would not have been possible without the gift of his HFOT home. The barrier-free environment allows him to come home and rest and recover after a grueling day of training. “Going to the gym and the Fire Academy training can take a toll on my body. The comfort of my home allows me to recover enough to keep pushing myself,” he says.
Dan’s story was recently featured on KING 5 News. Read the story here and watch the video below.