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Utah firefighter’s art on display at station

By Jeana Quigley
The Salt Lake Tribune
Copyright 2007 The Salt Lake Tribune
All Rights Reserved

WEST JORDAN, Utah. — Most people aren’t able to bring their passions and hobbies to work. But for Jason Hankins of West Jordan Fire Department Station 53, his hobbies and work come together in a harmonious balance.

A lover of art and drawing since he can remember, the firefighter and paramedic created the new design that will adorn some of Fire Station 53’s firefighting equipment - specifically, the ladder truck and a new heavy rescue vehicle.

The latter vehicle contains oversized equipment and can carry up to five firefighters to help in trench rescues, confined-space rescues, as well as in other unusual missions. Hankins’ artwork will be displayed on both sides and an even larger version on the back of the heavy rescue truck that is scheduled to arrive in June.

“I can’t wait to see it,” Hankins says.

This is not the first time Station 53 has used Hankins’ art. The West Jordan resident was previously approached by fellow firefighter Chris Maxfield to design a tattoo for his right shoulder.

“It was well-liked, so they wanted to do a little more with it,” Hankins says.

That’s when it was decided to use the exact tattoo design on the department’s workout T-shirts. Hankins’ artwork displays fire hydrants, ladders, face masks and other firefighting images.

“I’ve always been drawing,” he says. “This kind of stuff [logos] is newer to me.”

Hankins enjoyed painting with watercolors in high school, but realized the difficulty of making a career out of art.

“I found myself married and working at Texas Instruments in computers in Dallas, Texas, and I decided this wasn’t me,” he recalls. “I wanted to do something that was more hands-on.”

Hankins and his family - including his three children, Mayson, Harmony and Jordan - later moved to Utah, where he attended Utah Valley State College to earn the certifications required to become a firefighter and paramedic. He then joined the West Jordan Fire Department, where he has worked for the past nine years.

Although Hankins is proficient with computers, he prefers to sketch his art freehand with the help, on occasion, of a compass or ruler. After his T-shirts were produced, Hankins was asked by firefighters if he planned on doing any more logos for the department. That’s when he decided to work on a logo for the heavy rescue vehicle.

“I did nine different designs, and the guys here voted on them,” Hankins says.

West Jordan Station 53 firefighter/paramedic Jason Hankins displays two of the nine designs he created.