Profile: Bo Geter, firefighter
Background: Born in Spartanburg, S.C., moved to Rowan County at an early age. One of four children. His father worked at N.C. Finishing Co.; his mother, at a furniture plant.
Education: Attended R.A. Clement School in Cleveland, Dunbar in East Spencer and graduated from North Rowan High in 1973, where he starred at running back and middle linebacker for the football team. Attended Livingstone College and Winston-Salem State, where he majored in history.
Career path: Worked at N.C. Finishing Co. for two years. Had aspirations to become a state trooper, “but I decided I didn’t want to carry a gun.” Hired in 1978 by Chief Fred Shipton to work for the Salisbury Fire Department, where Geter was one of three African-American firefighters. Became battalion chief in 1989. As administrative battalion chief today, oversees the department’s facilities and equipment. “I can’t think of anything else I would have liked to have done in my life,” Geter says.
Family: Father of three, all grown.
Role models:Many of his teachers, especially those who showed interest in him “and made sure I followed the right path.” In later years, High Point Fire Chief David Taylor has had a strong influence.
Quote to live by: “When I wake up the morning I thank the Lord for another day and I say, ‘Live the day to its fullest, because tomorrow is not promised.’ ”
Pet peeve: “There is so much out here for our kids ó whether black, white, green or blue ó to do. What you don’t want to see them do is stand on a street corner. I think there is so much now available to them, but they don’t take the next step.”
State of race relations in Rowan County: “I think we have made some giant steps, but we have fallen down in some areas. Everybody needs to take a look within themselves and not just come together one day but come together every day.”
ó Mark Wineka