Ben Garvis: Student, Leader, Firefighter


Graham McFarland ’19

Ben Garvis (Class of 2018) is involved in many activities at Strake Jesuit including swimming, choir, yearbook, Crusader Crew, student council, and serving as house president of Bellarmine. He continues to be a leader off campus. From midnight on Friday to midnight on Saturday, Ben works a 24-hour shift as a volunteer firefighter for the Northwest Volunteer Fire Department of Harris County.

Ben first became interested in being a firefighter early in his junior year, but his parents refused to let him. He continued to pursue this interest and made a list of pros and cons, eventually persuading his parents to let him join. In May of his junior year, he filled out an application online. The station normally wouldn’t accept applicants who were under 18 years of age, but Ben was determined to join when he was 17. He was finally accepted in June and soon after began intensive, training. He began full shifts in August.

His work incorporates many grad at grad values emphasized in our Jesuit education. He must, of course, be physically fit, but he must also be open to growth as he learns skills necessary for his job. He must also be committed to doing justice as he learns the cause of fires and makes sure the public is well-informed. He also finds a religious benefit in his work. He recalls several times where everything in a room has been destroyed by a fire except statues of Mary or pictures of Jesus. “People lose everything but are still faithful. That strengthened my religious values,” he says.

Describing his time with the station, Ben noted, “It has been an extremely wonderful experience. At first, I was fearful because I was 17 while everyone was 30 to 55, but they were all very welcoming.” Ben finds it impactful that he can help to make what can be the worst day of someone’s life a little better.