Rogue Valley sons follow in father’s footsteps as firefighters

ROGUE VALLEY, Ore. — Two Rogue Valley sons are carrying on their father’s legacy as firefighters. The Kuntz family says it’s a family affair, keeping others safe.

Captain Mike Kuntz has been a firefighter for over 30 years.

“Both my boys, they just grew up around the fire house,” Mike said.

Mike is watching both his sons follow in his footsteps, after he showed them at a young age what it means to help others.

“My boys bought off on that and saw that and they just wanted to help out,” Mike said.

After growing up watching his father save lives, eldest son Mitchell knew lights and sirens were in his future.

“I get to work under and with guys who were working here, you know when I was a kid running around in elementary school, junior high and high school,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell has been in the industry for 11 years. He’s currently a lieutenant for Rural Metro Fire in Grants Pass.

“There have been multiple times where my father and I have actually been on working structure fires together and we have actually had the opportunity to be assigned to the same crew and he’s been in charge of me,” Mitchell said.

Years later, his younger brother Dalton is following the same career path.

“He graduated high school about two years ago and now he’s a student firefighter with Rogue River Fire District and actually got hired here [Rural Metro Fire] part time a few months ago,” Mitchell said.

Cpt. Mike says its a unique experience being able to share his fire family with his children.

“My career before I retire has just all been about supporting them and watching them grow and succeed,” Mike said.

While working with family is fun, they say once the sirens go off and an emergency call comes in, it’s all about helping others.

Anna Weeks is the anchor of NBC5 News at 5 and 11 and Your Place @7 with Anna Weeks. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Oregon State University with a degree in Digital Communication Arts and a minor in writing. Previously, she interned with the National Association of Broadcasters at the NAB Show in Las Vegas. Originally from the Portland area, Anna loves exploring Southern Oregon. In her free time, she enjoys reading, running, and watching sports.
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