Many young adults who grow up in small towns can’t wait to leave; but Paul Torres, a fourth-generation Eurekan, couldn’t imagine being anywhere but here.
“Once you’re born and raised in the mountains, you can’t go anywhere else,” Paul said. “It’s just home. This is where all my family is and I wouldn’t change it. I’ve been around the United States, seen a lot of places, but I would never want to leave here.”
Paul lives in Eureka with his wife, Chelsea, and their two young girls, Morgan and Gracie. He spent several years working in construction before joining InterBel as a technician. Today, he helps connect the community he’s always called home to the Internet, each other, and the world.
Paul is currently part of the team working toward equipping all Eureka homes and businesses with 100 percent fiber optic Internet, but Paul believes that the most rewarding work happens away from the job site.
“InterBel is very community-oriented, from hanging Christmas lights to helping out with events, whether it be baseball games or 4-H or even the fair and the rodeo,” Paul said. “We 100 percent have the back of the community.”
For Paul, caring for the community goes beyond hanging Christmas lights or handing out hot dogs at sporting events. He goes so far as to put his life on the line for his hometown.
Paul is one of the brave volunteers who give their time and energy to the Eureka Volunteer Fire Department. It runs in the family; his grandfather served for 50 years, and his father has been a member for another 50.
“It’s what everybody in my family did, and it’s what I wanted to do, too,” Paul said.
“I thank my lucky stars every day that I get to get up and come to work here.”
Paul has served the fire department for the past five years. He has responded to everything from lightning strikes to car accidents, and witnessed increasingly devastating wildfire seasons. Despite the hazards of the job, Paul has never doubted his commitment to the department.
“A lot of people run from the fire and here we are heading into it,” Paul said. “It can be a thankless thing when it’s three o’clock in the morning and it’s 20 below outside, but we’re out there. Somebody’s gotta do it.”
From the moment he joined the fire department, Paul has had the full support of his team at InterBel. The two organizations frequently work hand in hand; the fire department has washed the apron at the InterBel warehouse, and InterBel has loaned a bucket truck to the fire department. And when duty calls, Paul knows that he is free to go where he is needed.
“InterBel’s told me, if there’s a fire and it’s in the middle of the working day and you have an opportunity where you can respond, do it,” Paul said.
We are grateful for Paul’s service to the Eureka Volunteer Fire Department, his commitment to InterBel’s cooperative values, and his love for our community. To his credit, Paul has plenty to be grateful for, too.
“I’m grateful just to be able to be fortunate enough to live in Eureka, Montana and raise my family here. And I’m fortunate to have this great job,” Paul said. “I thank my lucky stars every day that I get to get up and come to work here because it’s a great place to work. It really is.”
“A lot of people run from the fire and here we are heading into it.”