Kristian Pawelski, 28, formerly of Clare, has just received dux of squad 52 in the latest group of Metropolitan Fire Service graduates.
Growing up in Clare and attending both the primary and high school, Kristian left school to pursue a career in building – completed at SJM Carpentry and Building – but it wasn’t the career he had in mind.
For many years Kristian looked to the MFS and hoped to one day be part of the team.
This inspiration for becoming an MFS firefighter traces back to watching his father serve the community as a CFS volunteer.
Kristian also spent time as a CFS volunteer.
He applied for a position in 2016 and it wasn’t until three months ago he got the call to be part of this year’s squad.
Kristian said the 2020 strong number of applicants soon dropped to 17 – this was through a range of physical, written and personality tests.
From gym work to hours of written lectures and hands-on training, the past three months gave Kristian an insight into the career path he had chosen.
“It’s basically a dream come true for me,” Kristian said. “It was a hard and grueling 14 weeks but I have a dream career now.”
He said he formed a group of graduates from all walks of life – and all ages, with one of the oldest being in his late 40s.
Graduating at the top of his class – with highest marks in both theory and practical – Kristian said it was a shock.
“I was pretty shocked when my name got called out. I knew I had done well but not that well.”
Having graduated, Kristian will now attend a range of emergencies where MFS is needed.
He is currently based in Adelaide, and joins a number of MFS firefighters from the Clare Valley including Colby Grace who graduated in squad 51.