Meet Your Neighbors: Borker knew at early age he wanted to be a firefighter

Robert Borker knew at a young age that he was not going to follow in his father's footsteps and become a machinist.

"Mom took pictures of me pedaling around in a (toy) fire truck when I was 4 or 5 years old," Borker said.

"I've always wanted to be a firefighter."

After working two years as a firefighter and paramedic with the Douglas Fire Department, Borker and his wife, Kaara, moved to Kingman so he could take a similar position with the Kingman Fire Department.

He has been with the KFD for more than three years.

"I'd heard a lot of good things about the Kingman Fire Department while I was in Douglas," he said.

"I like the climate here and we're close to Phoenix, Flagstaff and Las Vegas without being in a big city.

Kingman has a small-town atmosphere, but I'm with a larger, progressive fire department."

His schedule is both rigorous and rewarding.

Borker, who was born in Chicago, works five 24-hour shifts on alternate days before getting six straight days off.

That comes out to 10 shifts per month and 20 days off.

The medical calls to which Borker responds run the gamut from the regularity of traffic accidents with injuries ranging from minor to serious to the somewhat rare call.

"When I worked in Douglas, a lady got stuck halfway in and halfway out of a storm drain," he said.

"She thought she could fit through the drain to escape the police.

"We used the Jaws of Life to open it up and pull her out.

Seeing half a body out in the street with limbs flailing was quite a sight."

Borker also helped deliver a baby to an illegal alien woman while in Douglas.

She had climbed a 20-foot high fence and fallen, determined to have her child born in the United States, when Borker reached her and assisted in the delivery.

He was involved in a birth in Kingman, too, although to a lesser degree on Oct.

2, 1999.

"The baby had delivered (when I arrived) and was resting on the woman's stomach," he said.

"I just cut the (umbilical) cord and we took them to the hospital."

Borker was in the delivery room when Kaara gave birth to the couple's son, Andrew, now 1.

Seeing his son born, like a birth in the field while he is at work, also was "neat," he said.

His work also has its down side.

Borker has seen people die from their injuries.

"You always play armchair quarterback and wonder afterward if there was anything you could have done to change the outcome," Borker said.

"But there are some things that just can't be fixed.

You provide the best care you can but no matter how many doctors, nurses and ambulances are available there are some patients you can't save."

Responding to calls involving injured children are the hardest for Borker.

He must keep his focus on the adolescent, while ignoring parents that are screaming and pleading for him to save their child.

Borker is hoping his son will one day become a firefighter.

He began keeping a scrapbook of any call he rolled on that was pictured or written about in newspapers when he worked for the Douglas Fire Department.

In his spare time, Borker enjoys upgrading and fine-tuning the 1966 Ford Falcon he completed building two years ago with help from KFD engineer Brad Abraham.

The entire project took 10 years from start to finish.

He races his car in special events at Kingman Airport.

Neighbors is a feature that appears Monday in the Kingman Daily Miner.

If you have an interesting story to share, contact Terry Organ at 753-6397 ext.