PHOENIX — The alarm sounds and Roy Lewis grabs his gear and darts to the truck. He feels a rush of adrenaline as he climbs into the driver's seat, starts the engine and turns on the siren.
Lewis is a Phoenix firefighter who's living his dream of helping the community.
"I always vowed if I ever had an opportunity to give back, I would," he said.
Lewis has been fighting Phoenix's fires for almost ten years. He's an engineer with Station 18 who is constantly responding to calls and helping save lives. He always knew this was a job he wanted, but sometimes life throws a curve ball.
"Football has afforded me so many opportunities, and I'm very thankful and very humble," he said. "This job reminds me how fortunate I am."
In 2008, Lewis joined the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was a cornerback and played with everything he had. The experience, the brotherhood, and the fans, he says, were priceless.
"A lifelong network of friends and buddies," he said. "It's a brotherhood only a few can say they've been a part of and I think that's what makes it so special. To be a part of a winning team, winning atmosphere, I really learned what it took to win on a mass scale."
His favorite memory was in 2009 when the Steelers went to the Super Bowl. It was a moment he'll always remember, and one Cardinals fans probably would like to forget.
"Never thought I would face the Cardinals," he said with a chuckle. "It was a great experience. What more can anyone ask for, right? You go from a young kid watching Super Bowls with your dad and family and then aspiring to want to play, and then you play at every single level, and then you get the opportunity to play in the NFL."
After one year with the Steelers, he went to play for the Seattle Seahawks, but after six years in the NFL, he came back to Arizona with his family. Now a firefighter, he's protecting the city he once played against. He says though the city is now home wouldn't want to be anywhere else.
"Once I was done and retired from the game," he said. "I knew in my heart that I was to become a fireman. I think the transition was easy for me. I've always seen it as one locker room to another, right? I go from team to team and group to group and continue to build bridges."
While there may not be any scheduled games, the excitement and pressure of working together are similar to being on the field. It's an excitement Lewis lives for.
"Not too often do you get an opportunity to live both dreams in one lifetime," he said.
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