Josh Craigle applied every year for six years to get his job. He was persistent, almost obsessed in his professional quest. When he was finally hired as a firefighter and paramedic with the Park City Fire Department, he declared it was his "absolute dream job."
Craigle, who now lives in Wanship, was born in 1975 and grew up in Summit Park. He says his favorite thing to do as a kid was ride his bike with his friends on the old sheepherders trail that once crisscrossed the area. He ran the gauntlet of the Park City school system, from the old Marsac Elementary School to Parley's Park Elementary, Treasure Mountain Middle School and Park City High School. He went on to attend and graduate from Highland High School in Salt Lake City.
Throughout high school and for a few years after graduating, he worked at restaurants in Park City and Salt Lake City. He also trained and worked as an emergency medical technician (EMT) on the Canyons' ski patrol. Craigle credits a high school class in sports medicine with sparking his interest in medicine. "I always liked to help people and being an EMT was a good way to do it," he explains.
He met his wife in 1995 and the couple married in 1997. Together they moved to Gallup, N.M., where she worked at the Gallup Indian Medical Center as a registered nurse. Craigle enrolled in nursing classes at the University of New Mexico and sold jewelry at a nearby trading post to help make ends meet. Their son Justus, now 10 years old, was born in New Mexico.
The fledgling family moved back to Utah in 2004 and settled in the Sugarhouse area of the Salt Lake Valley. Craigle changed his career course and enrolled at Utah Valley State College, where he got his certification as a paramedic in 2006. In 2010, the family moved to Fruitland, near Duchesne. "I wanted to get away from the big city and out of the bad air there. I didn't want my son to grow up that way," he says.
In Fruitland, Craigle was a very busy man. While upgrading the family cabin, he worked for the Ute Tribe as an ambulance paramedic. In 2008 he applied with the Park City Fire Department and worked as a seasonal paramedic. "I knew that the department usually hired its full time people from that group of part-time, seasonal guys, so I just worked hard, kept coming back and crossed my fingers.
Today, just over two years into the job, Craigle beams about being a Park City firefighter and paramedic. "I love being there to help someone on their worst day," he confesses. "We're all highly-trained medical professionals but, when someone is badly hurt or sick, sometimes the most important things are empathy, compassion and just listening."
Winters are the busiest times and Craigle says he averages about five calls a day. "I love my schedule -- 48 hours straight on the job and four days off. I get to spend a lot of quality time with the family and on the river." His wife has worked at the Veterans Medical Center in Salt Lake City for the past seven years.
The Craigles recently bought a home in Wanship on the banks of the Weber River. "It was sad to realize that two professionals, a registered nurse and a paramedic, couldn't afford to buy a home in the community they serve. But we're better off out here anyway, it's more our style."
The home is less than 15 minutes from Kimball Junction and the Promontory Fire Station, where Josh is assigned. "Wanship is a great community and the views of the river and mountains out our windows are fantastic." He notes it's also a perfect place for his son to grow and play.
Craigle says he has truly found his calling. "I love being a paramedic. Every call is different and I really have a chance to help people and make a difference. "When someone is badly hurt and we get them to the hospital in better shape than when we found them, we've done our job."
- Favorite activities: skiing, biking, fly fishing, camping
- Favorite foods: "I'm a fireman. I'll eat anything."
- Favorite music/performers: jazz and funk; Fishbone, Bela Fleck, Victor Wooten.
- Bucket list: the New Orleans Jazz Festival; a family vacation somewhere tropical
Steve Phillips is a Park City-based writer and actor. Send your profile comments and suggestions to him at firstname.lastname@example.org