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Cordileone Family Gains a Second First Responder

Jul 18, 2022 03:33PM ● By Steve Sears

Photos courtesy of Samantha Cordileone The Cordileone first responders: MOPD Lieutenant, Michael, and Flanders Fire volunteer, Samantha Photos courtesy of Samantha Cordileone

18-year-old Mount Olive resident, Samantha Cordileone, officially became a first responder and member of the Mount Olive Fire Department in October 2021, and she had some great inspiration.

Her dad, Lieutenant Michael Cordileone of the Mount Olive Police Department.

“My dad is absolutely a driving force behind me not only wanting to be a first responder, but me wanting to be a police officer like he is,” Cordileone says. “Although he’s not the only one; there are many other officers and first responders who are role models to me. I grew up going to the police department on holidays, visiting my dad and the other officers. I also went on ride-alongs with some of the officers, so I was very exposed to everything that they do, all the people they help, and all the good they do. Because of my dad and the other officers, I’ve always had a drive to help people, and I’ve done my best to show that even when I was younger.”

Cordileone, currently a Centenary University sophomore, volunteers for Flanders Fire Co. No. 1. “Originally I was going to do just EMS, so I looked at joining the Budd Lake Rescue Squad because they do EMS responses only,” she says. “Ultimately, I decided that Flanders was going to be a better fit for me because it’s closer to home, so I would have a better response time to calls.” 

Lieutenant Michael Cordileone with a young Samantha Cordileone

 Cordileone initially served a probationary period of six months. “There is a ‘trial period’ in which you’re looked at very closely by the fire department,” she says. “This trial period comes after being accepted onto the fire department, but before becoming a full, active member. During this time, if you do anything that the fire department deems unfit and/or unbecoming of one of their members, they are allowed to remove you from the department.” The probationary period is also more than just being evaluated. There’s also much learning involved, and that includes purpose and operation of every single tool that is on every single one of the departments apparatus - fire trucks and ambulances - depending on if you’re an EMS or fire volunteer. “You’re also supposed to learn how the fire and EMS departments operate on scene and in public,” Cordileone adds. “Some of the conditions of your probationary period are that you have to make a certain percentage of calls, and be at as many training drills and association meetings as you can.”

During her probationary period, Cordileone didn’t have to go to EMT school, fire school, or become a driver, but decided that she wanted to. “Originally, I joined my firehouse to be EMS because I wanted to become an EMT,” she explains. “However, I saw the fire side because as a junior volunteer I was on both fire and EMS, so I was able to go on both fire and EMS calls. I ended up going to fire school in August 2021 while I was 17, and graduated in December 2021.” While at school, she was appointed as the class leader, and was the bridge between the class, the instructors, and lead instructor, Chief Gene Iandolo. “Chief Iandolo would contact me in the event that something happened and vice versa, or in the event that information needed to be put out to the other recruits. At the moment, I am also gearing up to go to EMT school, which is scheduled to start in August.”

In addition to her being inspired by her dad and his fellow first responders, Cordileone explains her other reason for volunteering. “Being a first responder in any sense is a very noble thing to do,” she says. “Every day you’re putting yourself in danger to help save others, to help protect others, and while that can be very scary sometimes, it’s very satisfying to know that I’m there to help people on what could be the worst day of their life. Hopefully, I’m helping them through that pain and helping them through that really difficult time. I love being a volunteer. I think becoming a volunteer is demanding, and a lot of people don't seem to have the time any more. I will always love being a volunteer, even if I am not able to continue serving as one down the road. I think it builds character and it’s something that brings you closer to the community you serve.”

Cordileone’s short-term goals are to finish college, get her EMT certification, and get a job at a dispatch center, as she recently completed her communications officer certification. “My long-term goal is to become an officer,” Cordileone says. “At the moment, I’m looking to go down to Florida and join the Collier County Sheriff’s Department upon my college graduation.”