Serving citizens as a firefighter with Boston Fire Tower Ladder 3 and member of the U.S. Army Reserve, Michael Lydon works the COVID-19 front lines—all while earning his bachelor’s degree. Through it all, he is a strong example of leadership and dedication in action.
At the Boston campus, Lydon is studying criminal justice with a concentration in homeland security studies through Endicott College’s Van Loan School of Professional Studies. This is a natural academic direction given his background as a Boston firefighter for six years (and counting) and U.S. Army Reserve member for the past 18 years. He serves as First Sergeant with a military police company in New Hampshire.
“I work at the Purchase Street firehouse in Boston’s Financial District,” says Lydon. “We focus on technical rescue operations…water, trench, rope, confined spaces are some of what we commonly help with.” Ladder 3 also works on building collapses and more involved rescues that other field companies may not be able to handle solo.
The coronavirus has presented new territory for many on the front lines, and Lydon and his colleagues admit to playing a bit of quick catch up with training for the challenges of this pandemic. “But, at the end of the day, we are there to serve the citizens of Boston and we will always do our job, and get it done,” says Lydon. “We respond to medical calls on a daily basis [including] cardiac arrests, trouble breathing, drug overdoses.…In the new age of the coronavirus, we have to adapt our common procedures to accommodate the needs of the citizens, while keeping ourselves protected at the same time.”
Lydon and Ladder 3 are now helping the City’s emergency medical services (EMS) by assisting with urgent medical response during the COVID-19 public health crisis. “We are going into people’s apartments and homes of those who are COVID positive…getting them as stable as we can for transport to the hospital,” he says.
With such work and potential for coronavirus exposure, concerns for his family and loved ones are natural. “It’s a bit nerve-wracking as I have a wife and a son that I come home to after work,” says Lydon. He went on to mention that the City of Boston has arranged for frontliners like him to quarantine at a hotel, if needed.
On top of it all, Lydon is still enrolled in his bachelor degree program and completing classes online. His course work has proven useful in professional situations. “In some of the psychology classes, I have learned about breaking things down to the level of the victim,” says Lydon. This approach applies directly to the pandemic. “I think that people are generally terrified when they see the fire department. People don’t usually call us unless something has gone terribly wrong. But, being able to be empathetic and do the best I can to calm the patients has been essential.”
This year Lydon was one of seven chosen to participate in the Van Loan School Leadership Circle, a partnership between Dean of the Van Loan School Dr. Laura Douglass and Assistant Dean of the Colin & Erika Angle Center for Entrepreneurship Dr. Deirdre Sartorelli. Leadership Circle students offer their insight on the school's strengths and potential for growth, and collaborated on the “Unofficial Survival Guide: For Students by Students.”
“Michael is an amazing student in our Boston program, setting an example of what it truly means to be immersed in community,” says Director of Endicott College Boston Marcelo Juica. “Especially during this pandemic, he continually shows his commitment to balancing academic work, protecting himself and his family, and helping those in need. He is a true leader in action.”