Lt. Adam Geaneas, 31, is a quiet guy. Ask Marathon’s Assistant Fire Marshal a question and he’ll tilt his head thoughtfully and answer in a low voice. His low-key demeanor masks a huge drive and generous spirit.
“He’s very dedicated. He has a big heart for both the city and the department,” said Fire Chief John Johnson. “He always tries to do the proper thing and that says a lot.”
Besides Assistant Fire Marshal, Geaneas (pronounced “Janeese”) is also a certified firefighter, fire instructor, investigator and inspector. He said his desire to become a firefighter started when he attended Marathon High School.
“We had some guys come in on career day and I knew then I was going to be a firefighter,” Geaneas said. “So I started as soon as I was old enough. I started volunteering for the city before it was a city.”
The training is physically demanding, but it also takes commitment to become a firefighter — 400 hours of training; half in the field and half in the classroom. Geaneas continued to further his education. He became a teacher to instruct others in the skill, including a “live” fire instructor. He performs fire inspections for the city of Marathon to make sure businesses and residences are up to code. But Geaneas said the most meaningful part of his job is helping homeowners or business owners recover cherished items after a fire. One particular structure fire — locals call it the “Rocketman” fire that happened five or six years ago in Marathon — stands out in Geaneas’ memory.
“He told me he wanted to find this silver ingot type thing,” Geaneas recalled. “I stayed there most of the day, sifting through the rubble, until I found it.”
In his spare time, he volunteers at Marathon’s Masonic lodge. Geaneas has been a member for the past few years and has risen to the position of deacon. His mentor, Jay Glover, said he’s a hard-working volunteer.
“He’s very community oriented and always willing to help out. He does lots of Lodge work,” Glover said. “He used to go to school with my daughters. He’s really conscientious. His public service says a lot about his character, too.”
Geaneas loves his work, his city, his fiancée Heather Kwiatt, and his 2012 Super B Dodge Charger. It’s the yellow car locals see around town. But most of all, he loves spending time with his dog Spanner, 4, a border collie. The dog is at his side constantly.
“That dog is so smart. He listens and understands,” said Clara Werner, the administrative officer at the Fire House who has the office next door to Geaneas. “I am fortunate that Adam lets Spanner come over to give me some dog cuddles every day.”
Spanner is a trained search and rescue animal. Geaneas trains and partners with Cliff Glade in Islamorada for the Keys own search and rescue team. He said Glade taught him a lot about how to train dogs for the specific purpose. And, the side benefit is he gets to hang out with his favorite border collie.
“My best friend? Well, that would have to be Spanner,” Geaneas said.
Geaneas is set to reveal his latest bit of public service on Thursday, March 13. Stay tuned for more details in next week’s Weekly Newspaper.
Little Known Fact:
Adam Geaneas is a total “gear head.”