TWINSBURG – Serving on the Twinsburg Fire Department is a calling for the Davet family.
The department, which celebrated its 100th anniversary last year, has seen four generations of Davets don the fire department uniform and work to protect and save lives in the Twinsburg community.
Robert Davet, who served for 28 years and retired in 2018, said that he remembered hearing the sirens and watching his father and grandfather respond.
"Occasionally, I would get to ride with him to the station or happen to be with him when a call came in," Davet said. "Sitting in the old station was amazing. The smell of the hose. The smell of the gear after a fire call. Being able to sit on or in the vehicles that did not go on the call. It was one big family."
Davet said the four generations have seen multiple changes with the fire department.
"When my grandfather and dad were on the department, they still rode the tailboard of the engine to a call," Davet said. "Self-contained breathing apparatus were just starting to be used regularly. The siren downtown is what alerted them that there was a call."
Davet’s son, also named Robert, or "Bob", works full time with the Northfield Village Fire Department, where he has worked since February 2013. He has worked with the Twinsburg Fire Department since July 2018. The younger Davet said that automatic CPR machines were "one of the new things to come about during my time."
"The ‘Lucas Device’ made it easier for two man squads to run a cardiac arrest," Bob Davet said. "Another new thing that has been helpful is the Powerload Cot System in the back of squads. It really helps with limiting the lifting of patients while on the cot and has saved many firefighters' backs. Technology is always changing. When I started we were still doing paper reports and now everything is done on a iPad for patient reports."
He had initially gone to The University of Akron as a music major, but "it just did not seem to be the right fit."
"I had a long conversation with a Galen Karriker, who I considered to be a mentor to me while at school and he asked me ‘What is it that you know?’ It took me no time at all to realize that the fire department was something I was involved with since I was young."
Robert Davet said he started his long career as a volunteer, paid on-call firefighter/EMT.
"When I got hired the department was just going full time and requiring members to be paramedics," he said. "Started out with three eight-hour shifts then moved to 24-48’s. So I started when things were transitioning. We still had a lot of the older equipment but were starting to get newer equipment too."
He said he had fond memories of both his father and grandfather.
"My grandfather, Robert Davies, was what I would call a kind soul," he said. "He never met a stranger. He would always take time to talk to you. He would help you in any way he could. He was the head of the Twinsburg Service Department for a very long time before moving to Florida. He was also a Constable for Twinsburg Township way before that. He was a lieutenant on the fire department too."
Robert Davet called his father, Robert E. Davet his "best friend." Robert E. Davet died in May.
"He always took time to help me with something," he said. "If you needed help and he didn’t already have something planned he would be there to help. He never missed any of my sporting events or band concerts. He was the all-American dad. We loved to go fishing especially at my Grandparents Cottage in Canada. He helped me in many ways, sports, mechanical issues, designing things, woodworking. Hopefully, I can pass that all on to my son."
Robert E. Davet worked for White Motors.
"When they filed for bankruptcy, Volvo Heavy Duty Truck bought them out and my parents were asked to move to Greensboro, N.C. with the company, so they went," Robert Davet said. "I bought the house I grew up in from them when they moved."
He said both his grandfather and father retired from the Twinsburg Fire Department before he joined.
He said his only regret is not having had the chance to work on a mutual aid call with his son on the Northfield Village Fire Department.
"I would have loved to have been able to do that," he said.
Bob Davet said his great-grandfather used to tell him about the job.
"My great grandfather told me the story of when he was at home taking a nap on the couch when my grandmother and her sisters put curlers in his hair," Robert said. "Well the fire alarm went off and he woke up and took off to go to the fire station with the curlers still in his hair."
There were many memories Bob Davet said he had regarding his dad working for the fire department, such as waking up at 4 a.m. to unwrap Christmas gifts together as a family before he had to report for duty.
He recalled playing for the department-sponsored baseball team and the Christmas parties at the station with the firefighter families, and being able to attend some of the live burns the department conducted for training.
He also remembered watching the Twins Days fireworks from the department parking lot "so we wouldn't have to wait in traffic to leave."
In addition to working on the Twinsburg Fire Department, both father and son said that they are lifelong Twinsburg residents, excepting for some brief interruptions when Robert Davet married his wife Gayle and his son left for college and the Fire Academy – they are both lifelong Twinsburg residents.
The four Davets were not the only ones to serve the community. Robert Davet’s daughter Lisa is the assistant director of the Chagrin Valley Dispatch, and Bob Davet’s wife is a psychiatric nurse.
"So, you see it kind of runs in the family," Robert Davet said.
Reporter April Helms can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org