November 14, 2012 —
While some young people make the headlines for less than admirable reasons, Eldred Central School senior RJ Thiele has drawn attention for his commitment to his passions and recent achievements in those areas.
This summer, RJ, who is a member of the Lumberland Fire Department, successfully completed the Sullivan County Fire Training Center Firefighter One course, despite working 50 to 60 hours a week for his family’s business, Thiele Landscaping.
“Somehow he was able to work all day for our business, and regardless of what we did that day (carrying retainer wall block, lot clearing, or our lawn maintenance route) he still made it to every class,” said RJ’s father, Ron. “Firefighter I is very physically demanding, especially in the summer in a large steel building, with all the heavy fire gear on.”
To complete the grueling course, RJ devoted Saturdays and Tuesday evenings to learn what it takes to save lives while maintaining his own safety.
In addition to the 91-hour class and his job, RJ managed to fit in summer practices and weight lifting for the football team, thereby setting an example for the younger players. Now in his 11th year of play, RJ serves as co-captain of the Eldred football team, while maintaining a high grade-point average.
The scholar-athlete also recently learned he has been chosen for the Section 9 All-Star Team for both offense and defense.
RJ plans to attend college to become an attorney, possibly through the U.S. Navy. “My favorite subjects are history and psychology, due to an interest in past events, as well as in the human mind and what people are thinking,” he said.
The son of Ron and Chris Thiele, RJ takes his inspiration from his father, who has served the town for many years as a volunteer firefighter and now holds a seat on the Lumberland Town Board. RJ’s brother, Dillon, is also a firefighter with the Lumberland Fire Department.