The Key Peninsula Fire Department promoted firefighter/paramedic Robert Bosch to lieutenant for a second time in his 27-year career at a ceremony March 14. In 2010, then Battalion Chief Bosch lost his job after an off-duty incident. He was reinstated as a new firefighter one year later after arbitration.
Bosch, 50, is nearly a lifelong KP resident who joined the department as a volunteer in 1984. He was sent to fire academy and put himself through medic school before being hired as a firefighter/paramedic in 1991. He was promoted to lieutenant in 2004 and then to captain in 2006. That rank was later reconfigured to battalion chief across the department to conform to industry standards.
In 2010, Bosch was fired for “off-duty conduct that was not acceptable behavior for a KP leader” at a firefighter’s conference, he said.
“That was a rude awakening,” Bosch said. “I was not the employee my employer needed at that time. I should have been a stronger leader and a better person.
“The whole thing really made me reflect on what kind of person I was and what kind of a leader I was; what my weaknesses were. They’re more apparent when they get thrown up in your face.”
Bosch went back to school in 2011 to earn an associate degree in emergency medicine and human services and later went on to earn a bachelor’s in emergency management. In May 2016, he earned a master’s degree in organizational leadership.
Bosch also decided to improve his physical condition. “I was very overweight, but I just ran my first 10K last week,” he said. “I’m a grandpa; I want to be around for my grandson.”
About returning to work as a new firefighter, Bosch said, “I didn’t have a strategy; I just shut up and did my job just like I was a brand-new probie (probation firefighter): support the team and share my knowledge. There was a very uncomfortable year of really trying to win back their (fellow firefighters’) confidence. I don’t know if I’m there. I’m a lot closer. Some guys on the line have said, ‘You did your time. You can’t live 2010 every day.’”
“It’s no secret that Robert had a rough patch in the middle of his career,” Fire Chief Guy Allen said. “Since he’s been back as paramedic and firefighter, he’s worked hard and he’s earned an opportunity with his behavior and his pursuit of further education to be given a second chance, and I’m happy to be the person to give him that second chance.”
“I appreciate this more than I did 14 years ago, when I got promoted the first time,” Bosch said. “I thought they owed it to me then. Now, they’re willing to let me have a shot at being a junior officer again and I am not going to squander that opportunity. I am going to prove to them that their trust in me is well placed.”