A Tampa man just joined his family’s firefighting legacy, carrying on a tradition that was started by his great-grandfather three generations ago and has been passed on ever since.
At 24 years old, Winston Jones reached the end of his firefighting training. After his great-grandfather and grandfather served as firefighters, Winston reminisced about continuing his family’s legacy.
Winston’s great-grandfather, Julius Jones, joined the Tampa Fire Department in 1919, where he worked on some of the city’s first non-horse-drawn fire engines. Now, pictures of Julius hang in the Tampa Firefighters Museum.
The family seems to carry the same will to serve and protect throughout every generation.
“Growing up,” Winston said, “I always just wanted to help people. And here’s a job you can help people tremendously.”
There are other parallels between Winston’s journey and his great-grandfather’s, as well.
When Julius joined the Tampa Fire Department, it was amid the Spanish Flu outbreak, over a century ago. And now, Winston has completed his training in the midst of the novel pandemic of 2020.
Julius appears to have passed on his love for service to his two sons, as well. Brothers James and Fred Jones both retired from the Tampa Fire Department. Fred, Winston’s grandfather, had many stories to share about his time as a firefighter.
Winston said, “He used to talk about how much he loved the job and help people.”
“Winston Jones has been a great recruit,” said Tampa firefighter captain Dan Quatrino. “He follows directions, he works hard, he’s focused on his craft.”
The training Winston recently completed is entirely different from the rigors his great-grandfather would have undergone. Some of today’s training includes being blindfolded while putting on breathing equipment, an exercise that prepares firefighters to react in a smoke-filled environment.
Now, the legacy Julius started continues on with Winston, who ponders if it won’t stop with him.
“I like the whole aspect of legacy,” he said. “My great-grandfather, my grandfather, me, and maybe my children.”