Married Firefighters are Heroes in Many Ways

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Steve and Diana Hernden met through a mutual friend, but their love grew as they both pursued the same career, one of community service as firefighters and paramedics.

When they met, Steve worked as a tech in the Cape Coral Emergency Room and Diana worked for Lee County EMS. They went through paramedic school together in 2006, and ended up in overlapping classes at the Fort Myers Fire Academy in 2007. They began dating shortly after and were married in May 2011.

Steve grew up in Bay City, Michigan. He got to watch his Uncle Greg fight fire as part of the Bay City Fire Department, where his two cousins, Tom and Matt, are now part of the team. While studying at the Great Lakes Maritime Academy in Traverse City, Steve ignited his passion for firefighting as a volunteer. His time as a volunteer firefighter provided the opportunity for Steve to see how rewarding the profession can be. When he had enough of the frozen winters and moved to Cape Coral 17 years ago, he set his sights on the Cape Coral Fire Department.

Diana is from Englewood (FL) and is the first in her family to join the profession of fighting fires. Her love of the medical field, combined with a desire to help people and an attraction to excitement and adrenaline, eventually led to a career in the fire service. She had no previous knowledge of emergency services, but decided to pursue it on the recommendation of a few close friends. She moved to Cape Coral 10 years ago and is only the second woman at the Iona McGregor Fire District to be promoted to the position of Lieutenant. She plans to someday be the first woman promoted to a Chief Officer position.

Both Steve and Diana are NAUI Certified Dive Instructors, including Public Safety Rescue Dive Instructors. Both are public safety rescue divers for their respective departments. Steve is also the Field Training Officer for divers and boat operators on his shift.

Diana teaches CPR and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) to Iona McGregor Fire District, as well as to the public.

They are both involved in promoting awareness and education for mental health in the fire service, both within their departments and the surrounding areas through the Southwest Chapter of the Florida Firefighters Safety and Health Collaborative.

Their service to the public does not end at there. Steve is the VP of the IAFF Local 2424 and was recently involved in getting relief supplies down to the Keys for the first responders after Hurricane Irma. He volunteered his own boat and loaded it with 3,000 pounds of supplies, trailed it to Marco Island, and navigated through debris fields to get the desperately needed items to Key West. His position as Vice President also provides numerous opportunities to work with community leaders elected officials and organizations such as the MDA.

Diana has been a volunteer with the Pink Heals organization since 2010, bringing awareness, comfort and assistance to women and girls battling illnesses within our community. The pink fire trucks are rolling memorials where people can sign the names of survivors, those who are still fighting and the loved ones who have been lost. All the members are completely volunteer and all the money raised stays within our local community to help those in need. Diana’s most memorable and emotional visit was when she surprised her mother last year, who is now a breast cancer survivor.

Steve has been a firefighter/paramedic with the Cape Coral Fire Department since January 8, 2007 and Diana is a Lieutenant/Paramedic with the Iona McGregor Fire District where she has been since January 8, 2007 – yes, they both started their careers on the exact same day!

The Hernden’s have 2 kids, a 4 year old son and a 3 year old daughter, and a 1 year old cat named Maui. They also operate a small business, Island Coast Excursions, providing beach day and scuba charters in the Lee County area. Steve is a licensed Captain, and Diana provide Divemaster and guide service upon request. Check out their website at www.ICEcharters.com

Being a two-firefighter family has its challenges. Diana works 7 am-7 pm, and Steve works 8 am – 8 pm on opposite shifts. That means Diana works one day, Steve works one day, then they have one day off together before the cycle starts over again. The schedule allows them to avoid the need for childcare as one of them in always available to watch the kids, but it also means they only get to spend time together every third day. When they do have time together, their favorite leisure time activities in the Cape are boating and scuba diving, enjoying the quick access to canals and surrounding water that a life in Cape Coral offers.

We salute Steve and Diana Hernden for the Hometown Heroes they are, giving of themselves tirelessly to serve the community they love.