Firefighter Dave Seppa will work his final shift at Bothell’s Fire Station 45 May 29.

He’s retiring, moving to Kentucky

Firefighter Dave Seppa will work his final shift at Bothell’s Fire Station 45 May 29.

The day marks his last chance to rescue someone from a burning building before retiring to Kentucky.

Seppa claims he never had that opportunity during his 27-year career with the Bothell Fire Department.

He did, however, welcome a few people into the world by assisting in emergency baby deliveries, and also helped during a number of cardiac resuscitations.

Seppa, 58, began his career as more of a mentor than a rescue man as he taught elementary school in the Marysville School District. The work left him burned out after seven years.

“It’s a lot of effort trying to make the material meaningful and fun for the kids,” he said. “I loved it, but it was tough.”

Seppa brought the fire back into his life by learning to fight the very same thing.

He joined the Bothell Fire Department in 1981, and completed his training on site with his unit rather than attending the regional firefighters academy in North Bend.

The career move brought new elements of enjoyment into Seppa’s work life

“I love the variety of this job, being physically active, and working as a team to accomplish goals,” he said. “I’ve always liked the medical aspect, too — figuring out what’s wrong with people and what it will take to make them better.”

Seppa claims respect has come easier, as well.

“Teachers don’t get the appreciation they deserve from the public,” he said. “When I joined the fire department, I noticed a significant difference.”

Those who know Seppa say his strengths as a firefighter lie in his people skills.

“I’ve seen him on the job in people’s homes,” said neighbor Louise Roberts, who was present when Seppa answered a medical call related to one of her acquaintances. “He’s very calming, but thorough and professional. He knew what he had to do, and was very caring about his approach.”

Roberts and her husband, Terry, first lived near the Seppas in Bothell, and later followed the family to Woodinville.

“They moved and we followed right behind them,” Louise said. “We had a great relationship, and still do.

“He’s such a sincere guy, and it comes through in his actions. He’s the kind of guy who would go out and blow leaves in the street for everyone. If someone needs help, he always seems to be there.”

Seppa spent much of his spare time running a landscaping business, and also worked as a ski instructor at the Summit at Snoqualmie.

He plans to retire in Kentucky, where he will spend time with his wife’s family and pursue new avenues of service.

“I’ve grown and changed in the past few years, and I’d like to do something that’s a better fit for the person I’ve become lately,” Seppa said. “I’ve developed skills from being a teacher and firefighter that are adaptable in lots of different ways.”

Seppa claims the decision to leave Washington wasn’t an easy one.

“This is a real mixed-blessing time,” he said. “I’m feeling excited about this new adventure and doing something different, but I’m also leaving a lot of people. I’ll be back regularly.”