July Volunteer Spotlight
By Associate Member Jessica Harlow
July 30, 2018

This month we sat down with firefighter Denis Houyoux.

Denis first joined OVFC in early 2008, but due to leaving the area left in 2009. When he moved back to the area in March 2017, he rejoined the department and looks forward to being here for many years. In the interim he was a member of the Big Coppitt Key Fire Department in the Florida Keys. Denis teaches woodworking and AutoCAD at Woodberry Forrest, where he also is the technical liaison for their main performance space, the Bowman Gray auditorium. He is an avid motorcyclist and travel junkie. He has been through every state in the US by motorcycle (including Alaska) except Hawaii. He has also traveled extensively through Europe, hitting all but a handful of countries in Europe. In the future he is setting his sights on Central and South America as well as Asia. Denis came to this area (Rapidan) when he was 7 years old, and aside from college, he has lived in this area most of his life. He told us, having traveled through every state (except Hawaii), that Virginia, and especially this part of Virginia, is where he wants to live.

1. Why did you join OVFC?

When I was young, like most children, I had a fascination with policemen and firefighters. Also, as I grew up, I was taught the importance of community service. Joining OVFC is a way of fulfilling both of those ideas.

2. What is the most rewarding part of volunteering?

Obviously being there to help someone when life has been turned upside down for them is rewarding and makes you feel good about yourself. However, another rewarding aspect of being a volunteer with OVFC is that as a member, we are always working to learn new skills and techniques, and it is a great feeling when you get to put some of this new knowledge and skill to use in helping others.

3. What is one piece of advice you have for new members?

Do not be afraid; there are all kinds of ways to help support your local volunteer fire department. Simply be honest with yourself about want you want, and what you are willing to do.

4. What’s your favorite truck in the firehouse and why?

Each apparatus has its charm, but if I had to narrow down to one, I guess it would be the engine; when people think of a fire truck, most often they picture an engine, that and it's probably the piece of apparatus that I ride on most often.