01/24/18 — A brotherly bond

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A brotherly bond

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on January 24, 2018 6:38 PM

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Jeremy, left, and Steve Mozingo both work at Wayne Community College, volunteer with Elroy Fire Department and live next door to each other.

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Steve Mozingo addresses fire cadets while they are cleaning their "station" the first day of the fire academy.

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Jeremy Mozingo leads a fire academy class.

Steve and Jeremy Mozingo are about as close as any two brothers could be.

They both work at Wayne Community College.

They are both members of Elroy Volunteer Fire Department.

And they live next door to each other.

Steve, the oldest at 50, works part-time at the college as the fire service coordinator, coordinating all the training for all the fire departments in Wayne County.

He's been in that position since June 2011.

"I've known the college's director of public safety, Beverly Deans, since 1988 when I went through basic law enforcement training there," Steve said. "She knew I was in the fire service and she was in need of a coordinator. She came to me and asked me to try this job part-time."

In addition to his normal duties at the college, this year Steve is also involved at Wayne Community College's first ever fire academy. After going through the fire academy, the students will be certified firefighters, EMTs, emergency vehicle drivers and also certified in in national instant management systems, Steve said.

Jeremy, 33, has been the emergency management coordinator at the college since December 2016.

"The position has just been vacated then and I had just graduated from law school, and they asked me to come on board at least in a temporary capacity to keep the program running," Jeremy said. "I agreed to say on when the position became permanent."

Jeremy teaches some of the criminal justice and emergency management classes. And he also has the option of take classes in both fire safety and law enforcement so he can continue working with both.

"It's a very unique position," he said.

The brothers' office are just down the hall from each other at the college.

Steve and Jeremy both grew up in Elroy Volunteer Fire Department as their father, Billy Mozingo, was a member there, too.

"I started hanging out here when I was 11 and became a fireman when I was 14," Steve said. "I've been on the fire department since 1982 and have been chief for the past 21 years.

"They built this station in 1979 and my dad became a member. I live right across the highway from the station, so when daddy would come to meetings, I would come with him."

Steve wanted to hang out at the fire department because that's where his dad was. And when Steve saw what his dad was doing to help other people in the community, he knew that's what he wanted to do, too.

"I was raised here" Jeremy said. "I've been up here since I was knee high. My brother was already a firefighter by the time I was born. My father was a firefighter. My mother's (Karen Mozingo) always been on the auxiliary. I don't know any different. I knew from the time I was 6 or 7 years old that when I was old enough, I'd be over here at the meetings. I honesty haven't known a time when the fire department wasn't part of my life."

Jeremy became a junior firefighter at 14 and has been with the fire department 20 years.

But the brothers took slightly different routes to get to where they are now.

When Steve graduated from high school, he looked for a job at the local fire department, but there weren't any job openings. So he went into law enforcement in 1988, retiring this past June from the Wayne County Sheriff's Office with 30 years of service and the rank of captain.

That still afforded him the opportunity to be a member of Elroy Volunteer Fire Department.

"I don't have any regrets being in law enforcement," Steve said. "But the fire service has always been near and dear to my heart."

Jeremy, on the other hand studied criminal justice with the idea of becoming an attorney one day. After just a year, he decided he didn't want to sit in the classroom anymore.

Then he went through basic law enforcement training at Wayne Community College and ended up working in Chapel Hill at the university for a year. Wanting to be closer to home, he became a Greenville police officer for nine years. He even moved to Greenville, but kept his membership at Elroy Fire Department.

Jeremy finally got a law degree after attending North Carolina Central for 2 1/2 years, but is not licensed through the bar.

That's when Beverly Deans asked him to take the position at Wayne Community College. Jeremy came back to Wayne County.

Both Steve and Jeremy are still sworn in as reserve deputies with the Wayne County Sheriff's Office.


"At the college, his office is just down the hallway from mine," Jeremy said. "I get to help with what he does at the fire academy, too."

At the fire department, the brothers go out on calls together, but have different duties.

"As chief, he's usually outside, and I'm usually inside working a fire," Jeremy said.

One memory both brothers have happened during Hurricane Matthew in October 2016.

"We were taking people of of subdivisions that were flooded and bringing them here," Steve said. "The highway was closed and people couldn't go anywhere so we picked people up and brought them here.

"The Red Cross had shelters open all over the county, but they couldn't get to us to bring us anything. So all the firemen here got together, went home, got what food they had in their refrigerator, brought it back to the station and we cooked everything we had and fed as many people as we could. They had to sleep on the floor that night, but they were out of the weather."

As police officers and firefighters, both Steve and Jeremy have seen some bad situations.

"I've seen death in more ways than you could ever imagine," Steve said. "You can't keep dwelling on it. You have to leave it at work."

"There is some stuff that we don't share because we see some people in their worst spots," Jeremy said. "My way of dealing with it is I don't think about those things."

But there are also good situations.

"Helping people in law enforcement or through the fire service, always gives me a sense of pride knowing I've helped somebody," Steve said.

"It's very rewarding to be able to be there for people," Jeremy said. "Helping someone is always a good feeling."