Who am I?
I think I forgot that people may read this blog or follow my challenges who don’t know me and have never met me.
So, I guess it might be worth spending some time to let you all you know just that.
For those who don’t know, my name is Jed Smith. I am a 23 year old from the east coast of Scotland. I work full-time as a Firefighter with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service in Dundee and I also work as an Urban Search and Rescue Technician on the UK International Search and Rescue Team.
I had what I would class as a fairly normal childhood growing up in a small seaside town attending the local primary and secondary schools. When I was 7 years old, I convinced my parents to take me along to a fun day which was being organised by my local Boys Brigade company (I heard they had been quad biking which I thought was awesome!). Having decided that the prospect of getting to go quad biking was high I asked my parents if I could go. They agreed and I joined the Boys Brigade. Needless to say, in the 10 years I spent in the Boys Brigade I never did go quad biking with them. In hindsight I joined for completely the wrong reasons, it was purely to do one thing that I thought would be fun. Whilst I never went quad biking I did get the opportunity to do far more than my 7 year old self had ever thought possible. I made some exceptional friends and learned a huge amount about myself, about teamwork and about discipline. I firmly believe that the Boys Brigade has had a huge impact on turning me into the person I am today and I think joining the Boys Brigade was the best decision 7 year old me could ever have made. I left the Boys Brigade at the age of 17 having risen to the highest rank of Staff Sergeant and obtaining the highest award available, the ‘Queens Badge’.
Some people have told me its ‘just a badge’, but to me it has far more meaning. To obtain the Queens Badge takes 2 long years of hard work and determination. My company captain and his officers were all fantastic and wanted the best for everyone. But they did not sign off on a Queens Badge lightly. If you did not meet the criteria then they simply would not sign your application. This is not to say that it was impossible to achieve but more to show if you put in the required work and met the standard you would be successful. I have found this to be an incredibly important lesson in life. It meant receiving the Queens Badge had far more meaning than exam results ever did.
Towards the end of primary school I began learning to play the Tuba. Little did I know at the time that I would get to travel across the globe playing it or be a member of a number of very successful bands. I suppose I was fairly good at it, but the people I played with were amazing and a lot of them are now music teachers and play in some of the best bands and orchestras in the world. I was never that good! Playing the Tuba ended up occupying a huge amount of my time and once you added the Boys Brigade into the equation, the only free night I had through my teens was a Tuesday. The Tuesday was often busy as well however going to competitions with the BB or another band practice. I was certainly kept occupied so getting into trouble was well out of the equation, not that I was that kind of person anyway. I became a member of the National Youth Brass Band of Scotland and went on a tour of Japan with them in 2008. Who ever thought at 14 years of age I would be touring Japan. I certainly didn’t. If you have never been to Japan, go! Its the most incredible country with amazing people. I’d love to go back!
I was involved in number of different groups at school; the F1 in schools challenge where you CAD (computer aided design) a wood car which was then manufactured using CNC (computer numerical controlled) router and raced at competitions. On the back of a competition I had the opportunity to spend a week doing work experience with Jaguar at their manufacturing facility in Castle Bromwich, Birmingham. This was an amazing opportunity for someone who has a massive interest in cars! I also took part in the Duke of Edinburghs Award and obtained every level. Bronze, Silver and Gold. The Duke of Edinburghs Award is the most fantastic scheme which introduced me to the mountains of Scotland and taught me more skills again, than I ever thought it would.
What I most definitely noticed throughout my youth, was that when you take opportunities that are presented to you and you work hard at them, success will find your way.
My fourth year standard grade results were good, but nothing incredible and my following higher results were average I would say. Looking back, I could have done far better in my highers had I put in the effort. I suppose they are my one regret from school. I could have and probably should have achieved better grades than I did.
I left school having been elected as a School Captain and achieving a lot to begin my studies for a BA (Hons) in Management at the University of Abertay, Dundee. Having studied for one year at Abertay I received an email to say my application to join Tayside Fire and Rescue had been successful and subject to a medical I would be offered a Firefighters post. This has to be one of the best emails I have ever received. Five weeks after receiving the email I had completed my first year exams and left Abertay, joining Tayside Fire and Rescue as a Trainee Firefighter on the 7th of May 2012 at the ripe old age of 18.
I attended the Scottish Fire Services College in Gullane, East Lothian and following a 13 week course I graduated as a Firefighter in development on the 24th of August 2012. For anyone who notices that there are more than 13 weeks between those 2 dates we had a two weeks off in the middle as the college closed for its summer break! Following another period of training upon returning from the college I joined my watch on the 16th of September 2012 (I have a strange ability to remember dates and number plates, I know its useless and bit strange, but it’s just something I do!). I transferred on the 1st of April 2013 to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and on the 7th of May 2015 following three years of extensive training and folio work I qualified as a fully ‘Competent’ Firefighter. In my time with the Fire Service I have also qualified as an ‘Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Technician’. What does this involve? In its most simple sense it is the rescue of people from collapsed structures. I am also a USAR Technician with the UK International Search and Rescue team who respond on behalf of the UK to disasters all over the world. As yet I have not been deployed but there is every chance that I will in time. The team is one of around 30 ‘Heavy USAR’ teams in the world who are officially classified by the United Nations. At present their are 14 Firefighters from Scotland who contribute to the UK team.
And now, well I am trying to raise £1 Million for Cancer Research UK because I am fed up seeing family and friends suffering from the disease. It’s my new challenge, my largest goal, but one that I am confident I will achieve!
Should you want to know anymore just leave me a message!
If you would like to donate even a couple of pounds just follow the link below, its quick and easy!
“In order to succeed, we must first believe that we can” – Nikos Kazantzakis