New Jersey native Dan Gulick joined the Air Force and moved around, until arriving in Tampa in 2002. While in the Air Force, he was a firefighter, deploying overseas twice and traveling to numerous countries from Egypt to Iraq to Afghanistan. Gulick is now in his fifth year with St. Petersburg Fire Rescue. And a big part of his job is making sure other people get to enjoy another day of their lives with their families. That is why he cherishes each day he has with wife Megan, daughter Kiersten, 4, and son Jack, 8 months.
What’s the most rewarding part of being a dad?
It has to be knowing that you are directly involved in shaping another human life. Getting to see your children develop and grow is a truly amazing thing.
What is your favorite thing to do with your kids?
Simply put, everything! Whether it is taking a short walk or bike ride, putting them to bed, going fishing or going to a museum, everything we do is special to me. I try to treasure every moment and I believe they do the same.
What is the most challenging part of fatherhood?
It’s knowing that someday our children will not be our babies anymore. I enjoy having them around every day, and I know that one day they will be out on their own.
What role model in your life influenced the kind of father you are?
My entire family growing up had a huge impact on my views of being a father. It was the typical Jersey family, where everybody is close and has a say in everything. Also, I had two strong males in my father and his father. They lead our family through all the tough times and make all the good times great. I remember being a little boy and thinking to myself, I can’t wait to be like that.
As a father, how do you view your responsibilities?
As with all parents, there are hard and trying times. I believe those times are learning experiences. If our daughter makes a mistake ( as all 4 year olds do), I try to use it as a teaching tool to correct the wrong doing.
What advice would you give other fathers?
I wouldn’t give advice to other fathers. I believe every family does what works for them. I would however give advice to men who are soon to be fathers, and tell them to cherish their children and try to build a strong caring family on a group of values that is important to them.
It is often difficult to balance a career with spending time with your family. How do you deal with this and make time for them?
For me separating work and family is different from most fathers. I work for 24 hours, and I am off for 48. I am the primary child care for my children, as are most firefighters. The difficult part is leaving the last 24 hours behind me and coming home to my family after being up all night.
What makes you happy?
Being a father. I love seeing my children grow and learn new things. I enjoy spending time with my wife and all of our friends. Every day we wake up and get to start over. Every day is a new adventure.
Where is your favorite place to go in Tampa?
My favorite place to go has to be the waterfront in St. Pete. It has so much to offer at all hours of the day and night. Whether with my entire family or just my wife or just the kids, there is always something to do.