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Inspired by dad, son now serving with him as firefighter

Jake Johnson says there was never a time he wanted to do anything else

Most kids believe they can be anything.

But, growing up, 22-year-old Jake Johnson didn’t want to be anything, he only wanted to be one thing.

“From the time that I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be a fireman,” he said.

It’s all because he was captivated by one particular firefighter he called dad, Todd Johnson, who is a 23-year veteran of the department. He says Jake spent a lot of his childhood at the old fire station on Main Street in Grand Prairie.

“He had a uniform that he wore and that’s all he wanted to wear so we let him wear it,” Todd said.

“[I saw] hard work, a lot of work, honest, just be a good person,” Jake said.

Todd, who’s now a fire investigator, says a lot of boys are mesmerized by firefighters, but Jake always took it seriously.

As a senior in high school, he quit playing baseball and football to work as an EMT. Once he graduated, he went to paramedic school before finally enrolling in fire school.

That was a few years ago and last month Jake’s probationary period ended, making him an official Grand Prairie firefighter, serving side by side with his dad.

“That’s your son and you want him to turn out right,” Todd said. “You want him to be successful, you want him to be happy. That’s what he did. He achieved his goal. It makes me proud.”

“Obviously he was my hero,” Jake said. “He was my role model. I am the person I am right now because of my father.”

Jake isn't the only son inspired by his dad. At least four other father-son duos have worked for Grand Prairie FD.

Because firefighter may have been their jobs, but being great dads are their callings.