With a nurse for a mother and a police officer for a father, Bill Young Jr. always knew he wanted to help people. When it came time to pursue a career, though, Young never really considered following directly in his father’s footsteps. Instead, he sought another avenue in public safety.
“The running joke in our family was, ‘Nobody likes the cops; everybody loves the firemen. It’s a no-brainer,’” he says.
And don’t think for a second that Young’s father, who capped a 28-year career with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department with a stint as sheriff from 2003-07, used his connections to land his son a job. After graduating from Bishop Gorman High School, Young, 31, tested seven times with various fire departments around the Valley before getting hired by the Clark County Fire Department.
Prior to that, the fifth-generation Nevadan attended UNLV and the College of Southern Nevada—taking classes in public administration, emergency medical training and fire science. He was working full time as a valet when then-Fire Chief Earl Greene called him with the good news, leading Young to hang up on Greene, thinking it was just his friends playing another prank on him. Luckily, Greene called back.
As a paramedic for the fire department, Young works about 10 24-hour shifts a month, which affords him time for personal pursuits such as rock climbing, snowboarding, riding dirt bikes, hunting, fishing and working on his 1966 Mustang. And while firefighters’ salaries have become a point of contention over the past year in Southern Nevada, Young tries to ignore the negativity and instead focus on his job and his future.
He volunteers his time as part of Metro’s mountain rescue team and the Southern Nevada Burn Foundation, aspires to ascend to captain in the fire department and could see himself running for political office one day, perhaps as an assemblyman or county commissioner.
Young may have chosen not to follow his father in some regards, but a commitment to the community is one attribute they clearly have in common.