MFD’s Cruise earns Bachelor’s Degree from UW-Oshkosh
Merrill Firefighter/Paramedic Bryson Cruise recently graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, with a Bachelors of Applied Science degree in Fire and Emergency Response Management.
Cruise has been with the Merrill Fire Department since 2015 and holds multiple fire and EMS certifications including Critical Care Paramedic. His journey to earn his degrees started even earlier.
Bryson decided in the fall of 2013 to finish his Associate Degree in Fire Science from the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. In order to complete that degree he took general education courses online through the University of Wisconsin system. In 2015, Cruise transferred to UW-Oshkosh where he went on to complete 18 courses including an applied research project. On May 18, he walked across the stage to accept his diploma. He finished Oshkosh with a 3.82 GPA and earned College Honors at graduation.
The Merrill Fire Department is proud of Cruise’s academic accomplishments. It is not uncommon for members of the fire department to continue their education. Multiple members have gone on to complete an Associate and/or Bachelor’s Degree(s). Some members have even continued on to earn their Nurse’s License.
“When you look at how many of our members have continued their education, it’s quite impressive. It speaks volumes about the amount of professionalism that they have,” says Chief Klug, a UW–Oshkosh graduate himself.
“Having gone through the Fire and Emergency Response Management program previously, I can appreciate the work and sacrifice that Bryson made. We couldn’t be more proud of him,” continued Klug.
As part of the collective bargaining agreement with Merrill Firefighters Local 847, Cruise will also now earn an additional education incentive.
The education incentive is paid annually starting the year after they earn their degree. Educational incentives encourage members to obtain more training and education. These incentives are even more important than ever with declining applicants in the emergency service fields, creating a competitive edge compared to other fire departments without them. Education incentives also improve the potential pool of candidates looking to promote to officer positions within the fire department.
So what’s next for Cruise?
In June, he started working part-time for Dinges Fire Company, an Illinois fire equipment sales company looking to expand into northcentral Wisconsin. As part of that, he serves fire departments in Clark, Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon, Oneida, Portage, Price, Shawano, Taylor Waupaca and Wood counties. Bryson is also considering getting his Master’s Degree. He does all of this while enjoying his primary job and fathering two sons; Carson and Connor. He hopes to inspire his kids and anyone else who has a dream.
“Dream big and never let anyone tell you it can’t be done,” Cruise adds.