Mike McDevitt didn’t plan to become a firefighter.
Rather, he pursued that career path “just out of the blue,” he said, recalling his random decision to stop at the North Aurora Fire Department to complete an application. He didn’t even know anybody there, he said.
It’s a decision he doesn’t regret, he said, noting he has been with the department – first as a cadet and now as a firefighter and paramedic – for 10 years.
While his profession alone makes McDevitt a hero, his extra contributions to the firefighting profession and his willingness to help friends, neighbors and strangers with various tasks led 911 dispatcher Victoria Muller to nominate him as an Everyday Hero.
He is an “all-around selfless person,” she said, marveling at how he does something “so heroic” for work and carries that through his everyday life.
Muller noted McDevitt participates in the Kane County SWAT team as a tactical medic. McDevitt said the voluntary position requires training every other Tuesday, and he uses vacation days when the training conflicts with his work schedule.
“It’s a lot of fun,” he said, adding he was accepted onto the SWAT team in September 2015. “I learn a lot.”
Speaking as a first responder who regularly works on an ambulance, McDevitt said volunteering for the organization is a way for him to give back to the police who “always have our back” during medical calls needing police assistance.
Now, he said, he has the training and the equipment to aid police during an active shooter scenario.
But that’s not all McDevitt does with his time.
As someone who can’t sit still and always has to be doing something, he said he also works part time at the Southern Kane County Training Association’s 10-acre training site, the very place where he received about half of his fire training.
The majority of his duties there involve maintenance, he said, but he also helps pass on the traditions, history and knowledge of the firefighting profession.
Training others can be a challenge, he said, but added that “it’s really uplifting” when trainees are interested in what he has to teach them.
North Aurora Fire Chief Ryan Lambert described McDevitt as an “exemplary employee” who comes to work focused and prepared for whatever challenge lies ahead and is ready to help with special projects. Additionally, the chief wrote, McDevitt is a great member in the family of the fire service.
“If you are looking to learn a new skill, Mike is willing to teach you even during his down time,” Lambert wrote. “If you need a person to talk to after a tough call, Mike is there for you. If you need help with a home project, there is Mike always willing to lend a helping hand.”
Muller knows the latter is true. In the year she has known McDevitt, she has learned he’s the person people call if they need help with something, such as winterizing a swimming pool, fixing a roof or removing a beehive, she said.
While others in his position might get irritated by the requests, she said, “he does it cheerfully.”
McDevitt credits his stock of tools – he usually has about three of everything – for his reputation as the go-to guy for odd jobs, he said, saying he doesn’t mind helping out.
Muller said his attitude speaks to his character.
“The truly heroic thing is that he never keeps score or expects anything in return,” she wrote in her nomination. “He just genuinely believes that if you have the means to help someone you should.”
The McDevitt lowdown
Who he is: A firefighter and paramedic with the North Aurora Fire Department who is willing to lend a hand to those who need it.
Town of residence: Elburn
Family: Two sisters, a brother and his parents
Hobbies: “Work. That’s all I do. I don’t have a whole lot of hobbies.”
Fun fact: “I love dogs. I have two.”