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John  Allen II

#104 John Allen II, Class of 2007
(A.S. in Fire Technology)

My dad, grandfather and great uncle were all firefighters. I wanted to be one, too. As a kid, my two younger brothers and I practically grew up in a firehouse. It was second nature, for us all, to pick firefighting for a lifelong career.

As soon as I graduated from Ramona High School, I took numerous fire tests until I was hired by the Borrego Springs Fire Protection District when I was 19. At the time, I put college on the back-burner to work full-time. But in 1993, when I trained to become a paramedic, that all changed for me. I realized I needed a college degree, if I wanted to advance and move up the ranks.

I’d gone to a couple of community colleges in the Riverside and San Diego region before that, but it was COD’s Public Safety Academy that really inspired me. I got my A.S. in Fire Technology there in 2007.

Today, I’m the Fire Chief of Palm Springs Fire Department. It’s been an amazing run. After decades of service, I’ve never grown weary of helping people in times of need and I haven’t stopped learning.

Every day I wake up, wanting to help my fellow man. It’s been a lifelong journey that I’m proud of.