Former Hesperia homeschooler Jonathan Hearn recently completed one of the most exhilarating weeks of his life. Hearn served as fire chief of the 17th Annual Inland Empire Fire Explorer Association Fire Academy, which was held Nov. 12-16 at the Marine Corp Logistic Base Annex in Yermo.


A Hesperia Explorer Post 152, Hearn was named chief in September after being selected by his peers at Leadership Academy. He will hold the prestigious position throughout the year with support by advisor Brian Headley of San Bernardino County Fire Department.


Joining Hearn at Leadership Academy were Drew Kaup, battalion chief, Richard McLane II, lieutenant, Breanna Silkwood, captain, and Eric Carrell, captain.


Hearn has climbed up the ranks. He served as lieutenant at the academy in 2006, and in 2007 he was a division chief. He has also served as the Academy's public information officer.


Hearn, 18, was was joined by 11 other Hesperia Fire Explorers at the recent event. A graduate of Arrow Christian High School, a home school program, he oversaw academy activities including Class 3 Fire Training, otherwise known as Structual Fire Training.


Altogether, there were 240 cadets from 30 area Explorer posts. Volunteer firefighters under IEFEA President Art Bishop of Apple Valley Fire taught ventilation, fighting house-fires and arson investigation along with other safety and skills instruction. The event took four months to organize.


A graduation ceremony was held at the end of the five-day academy.


Hearn has been a Fire Explorer for three years, attending Victor Valley College part-time during high school. A 2007 high school graduate, he has continued his studies at VVC and is working toward finishing two associate degrees. He plans on becoming a career firefighter with County Fire.


To learn more about the Fire Explorer program, visit sbcfire.or/programs/fire_explorer.asp.


The Hearn family and the San Bernardino County Fire Department contributed to this story.