Firefighter (FF) Vinny Harrison spends his days at Fire Station 11, Penn Daw, doing what he loves. He is assigned to Truck 411 and is ready to help Fairfax County residents and visitors at a moment’s notice. When he isn’t helping his community, FF Harrison is surrounded by coworkers who are more like family.
Growing up, he never imagined he would have a career in the fire service. He lived in Atlanta, Georgia until age 13 when his family moved to Richmond, Virginia. They lived there for a year before settling in Gainesville, Virginia. FF Harrison was homeschooled through high school. He played football in a recreation league with other kids who also played on their high school’s varsity teams. After high school, he began taking classes at Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC). He wanted to study kinesiology, the study of the mechanics of body movement, and planned on earning his Associates degree at NVCC before transferring to George Mason University to complete his degree.
During this time FF Harrison earned a certification in personal training and began working as a personal trainer at a gym in Gainesville. Even though he was the youngest trainer at the gym, he was quickly able to turn personal training into a full-time job holding the gym’s highest clientele base. However, as he began to get more serious with his then girlfriend he began thinking about a more stable career.
As luck would have it, FCFRD Captain Merritt worked out at the same gym using a different trainer. He spotted FF Harrison across the gym and asked to speak with
to him about becoming a firefighter. Out of respect, FF Harrison heard what he had to say. He realized that a career in the fire service had everything he liked – camaraderie, the ability to help people, and the adrenaline rush that comes with responding to an emergency.
Six months later FF Harrison joined FCFRD as a new recruit with a new fiancée. He graduated as member of Recruit Class 138 in June 2015. FF Harrison served at Fire Station 19, Lorton, where he stayed for a little over a year before transferring to Fire Station 11.
FF Harrison loves knowing that when he comes to work he is making a difference. He loves helping others. One of his proudest moments was helping to rescue a little girl out of a house fire in early 2019. The call was featured in UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute’s Close Before You Doze Fall 2019 campaign (https://youtu.be/MpNqcUyLTL4). At the end of a 24-hour shift, he goes home happy and exhausted knowing he has made a positive impact within the community he serves.