LIMERICK — In the photo from 17 years ago, Bill Reice is wearing his Harleysville Fire Company shirt as daughter 2-year-old Morgan clutches her balloon string with Bill also keeping a protective finger on the string as Morgan looks skyward at other balloons.
Fast forward to today and they're both wearing Limerick Fire Department shirts. Both are volunteers with the fire company where Bill is a driver/operator and Morgan is a firefighter.
When photographer Ken Zepp took the photo for the Souderton Independent newspaper at Faith Bible Fellowship in Harleysville's Community Heroes Appreciation Day a year after Sept. 11, 2001, Bill was a Harleysville Ambulance paramedic. Now two separate organizations, the ambulance was at the time part of the fire company.
Bill is now a paid paramedic with the Trappe Fire Company.
Morgan, who graduated from Boyertown Area High School in 2018, is planning for a similar career.
"I'm looking into EMT school now, to be a firefighter EMT and then eventually to be a firefighter paramedic," she said.
She's aiming to start the Emergency Medical Technician training next year, she said.
"In order to actually get into a paramedic class now, you have to have a few years of 911 experience as an EMT in the field before they'll even look at you," Bill said. "It used to be you could just walk into the paramedic class right off the street if you wanted to do that."
His own involvement in the field began when he was working as a truck driver and four of his friends were working as orderlies at Fox Chase Cancer Center, he said. They told him they were going to take an EMT class and asked if he wanted to do it, too.
"I said, sure, why not?" Bill said.
As far as he knows, he's the only one of the five still doing emergency medical service, he said.
For Morgan, growing up with a mother who was a nurse and a father who was a paramedic, there was always an interest in doing similar work, she said.
After graduating from high school, she started as a probationary firefighter with the Limerick company, then completed the 180 hours of training at Montgomery County Fire Academy and became a full member of the fire company, she said.
At that point, she had known for awhile that she wanted to be a paramedic, she said.
"Firefighting interested me. I never really thought much of it until I joined and realized that there was a lot I could learn about it and a lot I could do with it," Morgan said. "It's pretty cool. I enjoy it."
It's not unusual for two generations of families to be fire company volunteers, the father and daughter said.
"We have fathers and sons. We have a couple fathers and daughters here at Limerick," Bill said. "We actually have one other father/daughter team here at Limerick who is also a paramedic and an EMT that I work with at Trappe."
Morgan's boyfriend, who is currently on leave from the fire company while serving in the Navy, and his father are also both Limerick Fire Department members, Morgan said. She and her boyfriend met through the fire company, she said.
Bill said while he's always been more of an emergency medical services provider, he's also been involved with fire companies since the 1990s.