Most children grow up admiring soldiers, police officers, and firemen. Some of those children grow to pursue a career in one of those fields -- but not many can claim to have a career in each field, simultaneously.
That is, of course, unless you are Steve Cohen.
"I've always loved working with people, doing different things every day, and helping people. I enjoy the action, but that's just a small part of it. I guess I just really enjoy public service," said Cohen, in reference to his current roles as an army reservist, Montgomery Township fireman and Spring City police officer.
"I kind of took everything I dreamed of being when I was a little kid, and just did it," said Cohen, with a laugh.
That is an understatement.
Cohen graduated from North Penn High School in 1996, and soon after enrolled in Montgomery County Community College. He passed the police exam in 1998, and joined the in 2003.
By 2004, Cohen completed the heroic trifecta by enlisting in the United States Army.
"It was always something I had thought about doing, especially after September 11," said Cohen.
After basic training, Cohen moved on to advanced individual training to become a signal support systems specialist (MOS 25U).
Cohen joined the well-known 101st Airborne at Fort Campbell, KY. He was greeted by a quick train up for deployment, and then a trip to Camp Stryker in Baghdad less than a year into his service.
Upon arrival in Iraq, Cohen was served with an eye-opening reality check.
"We got shelled with mortars a couple times a month. It wasn't close enough to put us in danger, but it was close enough to know I wasn't in Kentucky anymore," said Cohen.
He continued his deployment serving as the brigade's S-6 communication specialist, and returned stateside roughly 14 months later. After a year back home, the 101st Airborne redeployed to Iraq in the fall of 2007.
During his second deployment, Cohen saw his role expand as he supported a company of combat engineers. In addition to installing and maintaining communications equipment, he was also patrolling the streets of Baghdad.
Cohen's second deployment ended 13 months later in November 2008, and he was honorably discharged soon after.
"Joining the army was the best move I ever made. I loved my service, and I'm really proud to have served with the 101st Airborne," said Cohen.
Deciding not to waste time, Cohen quickly picked up where he left off, rejoining his brothers in the fire department. He decided to make use of his Post 9/11 GI Bill, attending Penn State Abington for a degree in Administration of Justice.
Additionally, he still serves as a sergeant and instructor in the Army Reserves with the 3rd Battalion / 80th Signal Corps Regiment.
Cohen, now 33, resides in Lansdale, with his wife, Lauren, and his 15-year-old daughter Victoria. When he's not spending time with his family, finishing his degree, or busy putting out fires, you'll find Cohen in Spring City, where he serves as a part-time police officer.
Looking to add a bit of stability, Cohen is currently in the process of applying for a full-time position with the Montgomery Township Police Department. He has already passed his written exam, and has a physical agility test tomorrow.
"As long as I pass agility test, I can move onto the oral board interview, a background check, and finally, a polygraph," said Cohen.
Asked about his future prospects, Cohen said he was open to everything from federal positions to staying local.
"I'd be interested in a federal position with the DEA, ATF, or something along those lines, though it really depends," he said. "If I end up enjoying my time with a local department, why would I want to leave?"
Regardless of the choices ahead of him, the choices Cohen has already made have no doubt inspired many.
There are very few people who can claim such a resume, and for that, Cohen should be honored, and used as an example for future generations.
Thank you for your service, Steve. Past and present.
We at the Lansdale Patch are committed to recognizing the efforts and sacrifices of our men and women in uniform. If you know of a serviceman or woman who deserves to be recognized, please contact Keith Heffintrayer at firstname.lastname@example.org, for a potential article on their service .