By Michael Sudhalter
Sugar Land Fire Department Lt. John Avara knows the risks involved in a high-danger occupation like firefighting.
While some firefighters may try to block out the reality of the obvious risk, Avara acknowledges it regularly.
“The thought is always in the back of my head,” Avara said. “I have two children at home and a wife. I don’t want something to happen to me where I’m not able to go home.”
Despite the risk, Avara said he enjoys every moment of being a firefighter for Sugar Land FD.
“Every call we go on is different,” Avara said. “It feels good when you go and help someone when they’re in their team of need. A fire is someone’s worst day, so it makes us feel good as firefighters to help them.”
Avara grew up throughout Greater Houston and had some relatives who worked as firefighters in Pasadena.
But he didn’t think of entering the profession himself until he was working as a supermarket manager in the late 1980s.
A spouse of one of his co-workers was a firefighter and encouraged Avara to attend the Fire Academy, which he did at College of the Mainland in Texas City.
He worked for a volunteer fire department in Mission Bend and then joined the Sugar Land FD in 1989.
He was promoted to Engineer/Driver in 2010, and then, Lieutenant, in, 2013. The most recent promotion has given Avara the opportunity to oversee five firefighters.
With the advancement, he still joins his fellow firefighters in responding to calls.
“Being a firefighter never gets boring – that’s the best thing about it,” said Avara, who hopes to work for SLFD for at least another 12 years.