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Published August 12 2012

Class Acts: Underwood teen helps keep city safe as volunteer firefighter

Coltyn Blotske

Age: 18

Hometown: Underwood, N.D.

Parents: Joe and Laura Blotske

Future career plans: He is attending Northland Community and Technical College in East Grand Forks, Minn., this fall and plans a career as a firefighter/paramedic.

How he makes a difference in his community: Coltyn joined the Underwood volunteer fire/rescue/ambulance services in April 2010. In 2011, he took emergency medical technician training and attended the Fire Academy of North Dakota’s “Introduction to the Fire Service” class.

He is now a lieutenant of the Fire Academy of North Dakota and has helped new students learn fire service fundamentals. He is a member of the North Dakota Fire Commission and created a website, www.ndfire.com.

Through his emergency work, Coltyn has responded to suicide calls. As a result, he’s made a point to tell his fellow students to call him if they ever need to talk in hopes of preventing another tragedy.

Coltyn also has made a difference outside of North Dakota. In 2009, he went with his church group to New Orleans and helped clean up a park devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

He’s also been involved with basketball and track.

What his nominator said: “Coltyn is an unusual young man that has been a blessing to his community. He is someone the whole community, his family and members of the Fire Academy team are very, very proud to be associated with. This man of highest integrity is one of the rare finds, an 18-year-old going on 30.”

Why it’s important to him to be so involved: “It’s something that my brother did when he was in high school (serve as an emergency responder), and it was always kind of something that you looked up to him as. When I turned 16, like right away, I went and got an application and sent it in to join. Ever since then, it’s a drive in itself to continue. There’s good calls and bad calls. The good ones and the thank yous are really what make it all worth it.”

His favorite volunteering moment: “There was always this one couple, an older couple in town … one day, we had to take one of them in an ambulance and the other one was sitting in the front seat. I was driving that time. She was just talking to me, and I was talking her through it and everything. Ever since then, every time they see me, they come up to me and say, ‘Thank you,’ and smile. It’s just kind of a reward in itself every time you see them.”

Note: This is the second story in a six-part series recognizing teenagers who make a difference in their communities.

Coming up

Tuesday: Forest River, N.D., brothers who put others before themselves

Wednesday: Jamestown, N.D., girls who give back through sports

Thursday: A Dickinson, N.D., teen who reaches out to a diverse population

Friday: A Moorhead teen who helps youth thrive through knowledge

Teri Finneman is a multimedia reporter for Forum Communications