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December 26, 2014

Faces of Fauquier: 9-1-1 response in his bloodline

Photo/Cassandra Brown
“I love living in Warrenton, because it’s convenient and I have lots of great friends,” Rodney Woodward says. “I really don’t know anywhere else I would like to live.”
The day you stop learning how to do this job, stop training is the day you retire. If you get complacent, you can’t do your job. You never stop learning.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
He has made a career of rushing toward danger.

Town government last January hired Capt. Rodney Woodward as the only paid firefighter at the Warrenton Volunteer Fire Co.

Mr. Woodward focuses on ensuring the readiness of 21 vehicles and the buildings and grounds at Company 1. He helps train new firefighters and responds to emergency calls. Even before the county began hiring firefighter/medics about 25 years ago, the town funded a Warrenton position to ensure rapid response during daytime hours, when most volunteers work their regular jobs.

Following in his father’s footsteps, Mr. Woodward does the job “to protect the community. You see people at their worst time, and when you go to these calls, you actually make a difference and help them.”

With an extensive experience, Mr. Woodward has volunteered in Marshall and worked as a career firefighter in Fairfax County.

He brings a variety of skills to the work, including the ability to operate any piece of equipment and training in technical rescue.

“We are honored to have a guy who has all this knowledge and ability,” says Warrenton Fire Chief Sam Myers.

Despite decades of experience, Mr. Woodward and his colleagues constantly train and recertify their skills.

“That’s one of the main things about this job,” he says. “You have to keep going to school every year. That’s how you stay proficient in what you do.”

A lifelong resident of Fauquier County, he expects continued change and growth of the community in the next decade.

“We will be bigger and the fire station will receive an influx in calls,” Mr. Woodward says. “We will probably get anywhere from 2,000 to 2,400 calls a year.”

The Warrenton Volunteer Fire Co. primary response area covers about 92 square miles. Fauquier’s largest and busiest fire and rescue company has about 100 certified volunteers.

• Age
55

• Home
Town of Warrenton

• Work
Career firefighter at Warrenton Volunteer Fire Co. for almost one year. Works five days a week. Responsible for maintaining vehicles and facilities. Capable of training new firefighters in all basic state certifications. He can operate any emergency response vehicle.

Volunteer at Marshall Volunteer Fire Co., 1971 to 2004; career firefighter in Fairfax County, 1985 to 2013; Warrenton volunteer, 2005-14.

• Why do you do the job?
To protect the community. You see people at their worst time, and when you go to these calls, you actually make a difference and help them. It’s a rewarding job. You never stop learning. Also, I do it to pass on the information I have learned over the years to others I train.

My dad was a firefighter, and he worked at the Warrenton Training Center for 35 years and was a charter member of Marshall Fire Co. He used to bring me over here a lot when the old firehouse used to be on Main Street in Warrenton, and I would hang out with the guys. He took me to fire school one time. It was 1970. Ever since then, I’ve been hooked.

• Family
Mother, Anne Woodward; son, Rodney H. Woodward Jr.; brothers, Archie Woodward and James Woodward

• Education
Fauquier High School, 1977.

• How long have you lived in Fauquier?
All my life. I grew up in Marshall.

• Why do you live here?
I’ve always lived here. I love living in Warrenton, because it’s convenient and I have lots of great friends. I really don’t know anywhere else I would like to live.

• How do you describe this county?
It used to be more rural. You were lucky if you ran 45 or 50 calls a year. Now we are at 1,300 calls a year. It’s evolved and gotten bigger. It’s grown for the good.

• What would you change about Fauquier?
No, nothing really. Fauquier is unique to itself.

• What do you do for fun?
Woodworking. I help build decks and other things. I like to hunt and fish.

• What’s your favorite place in Fauquier?
Here (at Warrenton Volunteer Fire Co.) because that’s where I am most of the time.

• What will Fauquier be like in 10 years?
Bigger than it is right now. More businesses and we will have more calls. We will probably get anywhere from 2,000 to 2,400 calls a year. If we get lucky, we will get a Costco.

• Favorite TV show?
“Chicago Fire”

• Favorite movie?
“8 Seconds”

• Favorite book?
“Report from Engine Co. 82” by Dennis Smith

• Favorite vacation spot?
Anywhere in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

• Favorite food?
Steak

• What is the best advice you have ever received? From whom?
The day you stop learning how to do this job, stop training is the day you retire. If you get complacent, you can’t do your job. You never stop learning. Lots of people through the fire service have told me that.

• Who’s your hero and why?

My dad, Archie R. Woodward Sr. He taught me a lot of stuff. He taught me how to be yourself and get a job done. He was in World War II and fought in the Pacific as a U.S. Army Ranger.

• What would you do if you won $1 million in the lottery?

Probably pay off all my bills and take a couple of trips. Maybe to Alaska. I wouldn’t retire, just take some time off.

>> Suggest a “Faces of Fauquier” profile subject

Do you know someone who lives in Fauquier County you would like to see in Faces of Fauquier? E-mail Cassandra Brown at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or Editor Lou Emerson at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Previous Faces of Fauquier:

• Fast talk a tool of the trade for auctioneer Kathy Shumate.

• Sam Poles takes care of varmits.


• Diane King mentors student performers at Fresta Valley Christian School.


• Lewis F. Lee Jr. followed his father into taxidermy business.

• Edward Payne returns to Orlean and to photography with passion.

• Janet Metzger’s Old Town Warrenton shop a hub of creativity.

• Pablo Teodoro bakes to build community.

• Community trails have become passion for retired VDOT engineer Bob Moore.


• Teresa Reynolds makes transition from butcher to museum director.

• After working in New York and Italy, Christine Fox moved home to open fashion boutique 25 years ago.

• Steve Lewis develops hunting reality show on Dish Network.

• Julia Trumbo grew up in the family grocery business.

• Tax preparer Renée Turner enjoys owning a business in Old Town Warrenton.

• ICU staff Carol Jones values patients’ trust.


• Wilson Sanabria grew up working in his family’s Warrenton restaurant and learning to box.

• One-man band Peter Fakoury quit 9-to-5 to learn from children.

• Liberty graduate Brittany Aubrey works in the smile business.

• Walmart cashier Lulu Baer loves to play violin and several community roles.

• In Sandra Alm, SPCA dogs have a loyal companion.

• St. James’ Episcopal new Rector Ben Maas appreciates community’s embrace

• Bicycles dominate work and play for Brian Larson.

• Teaching music therapy combines Abigail Newman’s passions.

• Brenda Rich leads volunteers who organize and run the Fauquier County Fair.

• 1st Sgt. Greg Harris stresses empathy in his job as a supervisor at the county detention center.


• Chuck Tippett challenges the “rich guy” stereotype about pilots.


• County government employee Surja Tamang previously worked as a Mt. Everest sherpa.

• Woody Isaac found his calling as a chef at age 16.

• Horses take Tommy Lee Jones all over the county.


• Retired nurse Angela Neal continues to volunteer in hospital ER.

• Gilmer Lee really knows high school sports in Fauquier.

• Stage remains central to Tim Bambara’s life journey.

• Bus driver Melissa Strain’s weekend job all about “fun.”


• Bartender Taylor Edgar has a pretty good standup routine.

• A nomad childhood led Paul Schmeling to start a moving company.


• Adam Lynch’s family owns café with local food focus and a special name.

• Patricia McMahon Rice turns passion for art into her livelihood.

• Cindy D’Ambro works as “director of first impressions” at LFCC.

• Ginger Hilleary leads local literacy organization.

• Farmers with groundhog problems call Rod Kirkpatrick.


• Horses “retire” to work with Jeanne Blackwell.

• Remington cattle farmer Doug Linton loves his home and work.

• Sports central to Robert Glascock’s life’s work.

• For Richard Mast, company ownership started with his summer work as a teenager.

• Bernice Simpson knows northern Fauquier back roads and the people who live along them.

• Eddie Payne has logged 38 years as a volunteer firefighter in Marshall.


• Stephanie Layton turns her lifelong passion for dance into her livelihood.


• Shawn LaRue matches children and adoptive families.


• Biker and psychology major Clif Stroud makes music in a big way.

• Becky Crouch greets lots of visitors.

• She helped blaze trail to equality for black teachers.


• Family and food come first for Marshall pizzeria employee.

• Rural “closeness” of Fauquier appeals to Kansas native

• A “spoke” in the wheel of preservation.

• His job dovetails with passion for hunting

• Veteran educator sees the potential in every child.

• His passions: Fixing cars and helping people


• Habitat ReStore volunteer appreciates Fauquier’s diversity.


• Dad’s example led to new career at Fauquier Hospital.

• He lives and works in a beautiful place.

• The Goldvein firehouse ranks as his favorite place.


• Pretty things everywhere she looks.

• Through scouting, he encourages girls to explore.

• One day, he might run the company.


• FISH volunteer likes to help others.

• She sees the community’s generosity.

• Cop patrols while most people sleep.


• Pastor a constant in Calverton.


• She keeps the courthouse spotless.


• He loves working working outdoors at the park.


• She sees “everyone” at Carousel

• Library assistant works in a “fun place"

• Hat lady sets up shop in Old Town Warrenton


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