Kevin Stiner | April 28, 2023
Defense on the Court & in the Community
Kinesiology student-athlete draws inspiration from a tragic moment to volunteer with local fire department.
Growing up in a household with a civil servant kept community at the front of junior Kinesiology major Nico Morrison’s mind. But unlike his father, a retired New York Police Department officer, a tragic moment motivated Morrison to give back to his community as a volunteer firefighter.
In January of 2022, a horrific fire in the Bronx claimed the lives of 19 people, including the entire family of one of Morrison’s friends. The devastating moment inspired him to volunteer with the Brockport Fire Department while balancing the busy schedule of a student-athlete.
“Nico did well during the training given he has only been with the department for a short time.”
David Steves, Firefighter (Interior)
“It hurt seeing that in New York City. It was my friend’s entire family and it could have easily been prevented,” said Morrison. “I felt that we need more people in service and we have to do better as a whole community to protect everybody. And since I felt so deeply about that, why not me?”
Morrison learned the fire departments in Western New York are broken into zones. His zone fell within the Village of Brockport – a Fire Department that consists entirely of volunteer firefighters.
“Having more volunteers is always a good thing, and having a college student-athlete is definitely beneficial,” Firefighter (Interior) David Steves said. “He’s coming in with a good physical base and from the training we’ve done it seems that his heart is in it.”
Between coursework and competing for the Brockport men’s basketball team, Morrison participated in multiple firefighting training sessions. Ice water rescue was his favorite because it put his athletic abilities on display.
“The ice water training consisted of personnel donning ice water rescue suits and performing different techniques in multiple scenarios to rescue ‘victims,’” Steves said. “Nico did well during the training given he has only been with the department for a short time.”
Morrison credited experience gained from the training sessions for providing additional career options. As his first responder knowledge grew, so too did his interest in pursuing a full-time career in firefighting.
“The field I’m choosing to stay around will make me a better firefighter,” said Morrison in relation to his Kinesiology studies. Additionally, lessons learned on the court about teamwork translate to the dynamics of firefighting.
“The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that it’s a team effort. You need to trust the people on your team and firefighting is a bit more serious because it’s my life in my team’s hands.”