LOS ANGELES - When we think about courage, firefighters are always near the top of the list.
That's because when danger is present, they already have their minds made up to face whatever adversity that comes their way.
For Nolan Smith Robinson, a Los Angeles Fire Department junior cadet, he's learning as much about carrying heavy fire gear as he is about life.
"It's a little bit difficult when you first get started [but] once you master the technique, it gets a lot easier,” Smith Robinson said.
He is a senior at the Dorsey High LAFD Firefighter in EMS Magnet, a program that was started two years ago by his instructor and mentor of four years, Fire Captain Brent Burton, who is pouring his knowledge into the young cadet.
After Smith Robinson get the drill done in three minutes, Burton gave him a valuable pointer.
“So, you grab it palm up,” and as Captain Burton sticks his knee out in a hunched over stance he continues, “firefighters’ workbench is always right here. Check for gasket, put the nozzle on here, and then you swivel it this way.”
Captain Burton started the magnet because of his passion for mentoring.
Unfortunately, it's been hard for the captain to enlist other men to become mentors.
“It is very dire that we get black men engaged in mentoring," said Burton. "We want them to start helping to develop these young men.”
He guides his mentee through the Stentorian Headquarters, which is the home for the Association of African American Fire Services.
The captain wants Smith Robinson to understand the history he's walking into.
“We feel that we stand on the shoulders of giants. We want folks to know that those coming behind them, the price has already been paid," said Captain Burton.
Smith Robinson says that he undoubtedly credits his mentor for what he'll be able to accomplish in the future.
“I can't even begin to express my gratitude. I mean, it's literally given me everything that I have at this point to go out and change the world realistically.
For more information on Mentoring you can go to: 100BMLA.com
They will be hosting a mentoring training session Tuesday June 11th at 6:00pm. Location is at the Stentorian Center 1409 W Vernon Ave, Los Angeles CA, 90062