Lieutenant John Mammoser
Middle School Coach. Engineering Consultant. Volunteer Firefighter.
John Mammoser grew up in Glen Ellyn, and when his family heard the fire alarms go off, they’d run outside, take the car out, and see if they could see what was happening. His mother had an interest in firefighting—her father was a firefighter on Ladder Truck 1 in Chicago. So from an early age, John’s interest was piqued. She not only shared her love for firefighting with him, but she instilled in him early a sense of duty to volunteer. “Giving back was something you just did,” he said. “You bettered yourself by giving yourself to others.”
So when John had a family and returned to Glen Ellyn, he was looking to be involved. John works as an engineering consultant helping architects design safer buildings. Through his work, back in 2011, he met a Glen Ellyn volunteer firefighter—who realized quickly that John would be an incredible addition to the Glen Ellyn Volunteer Fire Company.
While John’s career background as a Fire Protection Engineer gives him a unique knowledge base for volunteering, he had a lot to learn about responding to emergencies. And training definitely got him prepared. “As a young adult I felt like I could do something to help in emergencies, but didn’t know exactly what to do,” says John. “Through training, my mind slows everything down in emergencies, so I can make better decisions in critical situations when the environment can be quite chaotic.”
Now John is the Public Information Officer, the head of the IT Committee, and a Fire Investigator. He goes on as many calls as he can, and has been to so many calls that his response and knowing what to do is nearly automatic. “By training and answering so many calls, safe and sound fire fighting almost becomes a part of your muscle memory,” says John. “ You can quickly observe and assess different situations, slow everything down, notice the little things and consistently make high quality decisions.”
He notes that the team shares the responsibilities of the calls so that it is easier to balance time with work and family. He enjoys going on calls so much that he does occasionally catch a fear of missing out when he misses one. “Sometimes I find the hardest part about not going to call is that it sticks in your brain throughout the day. But I do find comfort knowing that our dedicated team has got it covered,” says John.
“I have met so many people in the community through firefighting. I may not know my neighbor ten doors down, but I’ll know them when they have a call. There is a saying that comes to mind—one way to meet your neighbors is one siren or alarm at a time.”
He also appreciates that the work has helped him to develop empathy. “One day you may be in the same circumstance they are—you may have a heart attack. You may be in a car accident. Your car or home may be on fire,” says John. “ It’s a really great feeling being able to help my neighbors, even if it is simply just being a friendly face for them when they are having a bad day. Serving others in their time of need really puts things in perspective for me.”
John believes everyone has something to offer Glen Ellyn when they join the company. “People are so unique and each has a vast set of skills. It’s likely that your set of skills and attributes are exactly what we need to further our volunteer fire department,” says John. “What you bring—your interests, life experiences, and background, will undoubtedly benefit us as a company and you as a firefighter.”
“Through training, my mind slows everything down in emergencies, so I can make better decisions in critical situations when the environment can be quite chaotic.”
John’s top three reasons to volunteer:
Be a role model. “Volunteering gives you a chance to set a positive example for your family and neighbors,” says John. “Your volunteering will likely inspire others to give back.”
We all can do more for our community. “If you want to make a change in your community for the better, to improve things—you can join and do something impactful immediately,” says John.
Experience life. “Life is about experiences, and firefighting is one heck of an experience that will not disappoint. You’re filled with a tremendous sense of pride knowing that you’re building a safer village,” says John.