Lt. Dale Meno, 49, is an Augusta firefighter who climbed the ranks against the odds.
He was born in the U.S. territory of Guam and came to Augusta in 1977. The recent high school graduate came to visit a brother stationed at Fort Gordon.
His mother thought the move to the area would benefit him in several ways.
"Before I came to Augusta, I was studying at the University of Guam. My father had just died. My mother was apprehensive about my future," he said. She didn't want him to fall prey to the pitfalls that often trap teenagers without a goal or plan, he said.
After enrolling at Augusta College (now Augusta State University), he would walk to the Walton Way campus.
"I didn't have a car, so my only option was to walk to class," he said.
During his strolls to campus, he would sometimes walk into the west Augusta fire station on Walton Way Extension.
"It was on my route to school, and I'd get a drink of water and talk to some of the guys," he said.
On one occasion, he inquired about becoming a firefighter.
"I filled out an application on a Friday and got the call on a Sunday," he said.
After getting the job, he also got a canary-colored 1979 Chevrolet Camaro.
"It stood out and was very loud," he said.
Nearly 20 years later, Lt. Meno still enjoys his job and has no regrets about having joined the fire department.
Reach Timothy Cox at (706) 823-3217 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
JOB: Lieutenant, Augusta-Richmond County Fire Department
FAMILY: Wife, Rhonda; chil-dren, Megan, 21, Wesley, 20