By Sean Page
My name is Sean Page, I was born to a single mother who was still in High School. I was a quiet kid who spent a lot of time alone. Mom raised me and as I look back I attribute being a quiet secluded kid due to my upbringing around alcohol and drug abuse by my mom and my caring for a younger brother and sister. My stepfather married my mom when I was 1 year old. He was in the Navy, which in turn turned my childhood into an adventure. We traveled cross-country from Massachusetts to San Diego where he was stationed. As he was on active duty, and spent a lot of time at sea, we moved around a lot as well.
From as early as I remember, I was that overweight kid with little to no confidence. I had few close friends until high school. Once in high school I wasn’t the stellar student, but I did what I had to, to get by. I was always one to work with my hands and liked auto shop and wood shop. I had a job since I was 14 and always tried to keep myself busy, as I wasn’t very sociable. I joined the football team my junior year and made a great left tackle because of my size and lack of speed.
When I was 14, I moved in with my grandparents because of the way of life my mom led. I had come to realize I wanted more out of life growing up too quick as a kid. This was when my life took a big turn. I went to school and I had a job, but I was still that overweight kid with little confidence. I started to see and understand more around me. My grandfather worked 3 jobs to raise his 7 children and now me as the 8th. He was up before the sun and didn’t get home until the moon was shining high. As I always looked up to this tall man who was well known around town, I never really knew much more than that. My grandmother worked at the local convenience store 5 days a week and kept a home with dinner on the table every night for all of us.
My first job was at the store with my grandmother as my boss. This is when my eyes were opened. The work ethic of my grandparents and the dedication to family was remarkable. I started to see the direction I wanted to head. Until this time as I said I didn’t know much about my grandfather other than that he was the man of the house and took care of his family the best he could. I don’t think I even knew he was a veteran. As I got older my eyes opened further still. Come to find out my grandfather was a WWII Navy Veteran. He was a gunner’s mate on a destroyer during the Asiatic Pacific Campaign. I started asking him questions, listening to stories and began to feel very proud to have my grandfather as a role model. I started following in his footsteps and adopted the work ethic, the family values, and the drive that he had as my own. I started to appreciate what having his nightly drink in his recliner, while falling asleep watching TV was all about.
I was still battling with the confidence thing, but it kept me focused on working, going to school and getting through my days. During my junior year of high school, I began thinking about the military. Much to my surprise, I wasn’t too young to join. But, instead of the Navy like my grandfather, I wanted to be that Army guy. I found out that I could join with my mom’s permission while still in high school. My life was about to change in a big way.
She signed that dotted line for me and I was on my way to the local armory to take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). I passed with scores high enough to pick any job in the military I wanted. Growing up I was always interested in being a cop, so I though “why not shoot for the military police.” Well, there were no MP slots available and so I joined the Infantry. It was March 23rd, 1990. After a physical, that I had never had before, I was sworn in to the United States Army Reserve. I was off to Ft Benning soon after I finished my junior year of high school. United States Army basic training swiped 25 pounds off my body and I was a changed person. I was full of confidence, pride and full of life. I returned to my hometown to start my senior year of high school. At the end of my senior year and after graduation, I was back to Ft Benning to complete my training. After 9 weeks of Infantry training, I earned that infamous blue cord and I became part of a brotherhood of elite soldiers.
For the next two years I served in the Army Reserve. This is where I really started to understand the brotherhood within the infantry. I put the skills I learned from training to work and they became second nature. After a time, I decided I wanted to give the Military Police a try, as that’s what I originally wanted. My CO said he’d sign off but told me that I was not going to like it. Boy was he right. I spent just under two years in the National Guard Military Police. During this time the Army was beginning to train Military Police to be more combat efficient. Because of my Infantry backround, I was asked to be more involved in tactics and training. I realized, Infantry was and would always be in my blood and the rest of my career was active duty Army Infantry, with my final duty station being with the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
Once I left the military, I was at a loss of what was to come next. It seemed that the military was all I knew and understood. I went into the private security field and became an EMT and was certified as a Master Diver. As I seemed to bounce around a bit I realized I needed the structure back in my life. I pursued my interest in law enforcement and spent 2 years as a police officer before switching to the fire service. I’ve been in the fire service now since 2003. In 2009 I considered leaving and going back into law enforcement with the State Police after turning down two prior chances but realized that the brotherhood Id maintained with the infantry was very much the same in the fire service. I have been able to use many of the skills and traits learned in the military in the fire service as well as being an EMT and Rescue Diver. In 2010, I joined our local counties Technical Rescue Team as a rescue diver and rope rescue technician; again, utilizing the skills and training from the military and prior fire service. This year, I took on the responsibility of being the Logistics Director for our Tech Rescue Team.
I’ve attributed all I’ve accomplished in life to my grandfather being such a tremendous role model. That enabled me to push forward. But the military service and infantry training etched the continuing strive for brotherhood and dedication to service into my life.