When he is not casting his lines for a big one, longtime firefighter Goley Boggs also enjoys making home improvements for those in need.
Q: You have spent many years as a firefighter. What was it that lit your fire for this profession?
A: When I was growing up in Alamance County, I had this cousin – Tommy Cheeks. When we would get together when we were little, we would always play with our toy police cars and fire trucks. We just had a big time playing pretend fireman and police officer. As we got older, I wanted to be a fireman and he wanted to get on with the Highway Patrol. Being a fireman was just something I always wanted to do. He ended up getting on the Highway Patrol, and I ended up becoming a firefighter. This is my 42nd year in it – the last 25 of those have been in Knightdale.
Q: Did you volunteer as a teenager?
A: I did. I grew up outside Graham and I volunteered with the Swepsonville Fire Department. A few years later, a few of us went to the coast to help setup and start the Federal Point Fire Department. Now, it’s a real large fire department but we went and got their first fire truck. It was at Carolina Beach that I met my first wife, who was from Wake County. We got married and after our son was born, she got homesick and we moved to Knightdale so we could be closer to her family.
Q: When you are not fighting fires, what keeps you busy?
A: On my days off, a few of us firemen get together and do home remodeling for needy families – sort of like that Extreme Home Makeover show that you see, but not quite to that extent. We might hear of a family that has a sick child or something like that and we help them out (they built an addition on a home three years ago for a family whose son had a rare form of pediatric glaucoma). We find someone to donate the materials, and if we hear about someone whose house is pretty bad shape or they need some work, we see what we can do.
Q: How do you find out about these families?
A: It might be from a church, or someone tells us. Sometimes we just see it for ourselves. It is just something we do on the side if we hear about someone who needs a little help. At Christmas, the fire department also adopts a needy family and provides a Christmas for them.
Q: Did your son grow up and have an interest in fighting fires like his dad?
A: Yes, both my son, Jason, and my daughter, Ashton, came up through the Fire Explorers program.
Q: What exactly is that?
A: Fire Explorers are for the younger kids who have an interest in firefighting. It is a good program and it helps keep them out of trouble. Like other extracurricular activities, they have to keep their grades up and we make sure they are completing their school work. We monitor their grades. Many times, they grow up to volunteer and we have had a few eventually become fulltime firefighters.”
Q: Did your children?
A: My son did. He now teaches fire training at Johnston Community College – he is an instructor at their fire academy. My daughter went on to go to East Carolina University and is now an occupational physical therapist.
Q: Any grandkids?
A: Yes, my son has two sons. I love spending time with my grandboys. That is really one of my biggest hobbies is spending time with them. Of the two grandboys, I think one will grow up and become a firefighter. The other really enjoys science and I just see him growing up to be a weatherman. I also have an offshore fishing boat and a camper, so on some of my days off, I like to take my grandboys fishing.
Q: Offshore fishing boat? Any big catches?
A: We caught a six-foot shark one time. My son and I also entered one of those King Mackerel tournaments. We have caught them between 40-60 pounds. Mackerel is really good and if we catch a big one, I will share it with my friends. Sometimes we go to Myrtle Beach. Sometimes we go to one of the big lakes. I am just family oriented and I like to spent time with my family.
Q: You have 42 years in firefighting – do you see yourself retiring anytime soon?
A: Yes, I might see myself retiring fairly soon. That will just give me more time to fish, and hang out with my kids and my grandboys.
Correspondent Dena Coward