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Faces of Westover: Tech. Sgt. Raymond Chan

Tech. Sgt. Raymond Chan, 439th Airlift Wing Religious Affairs plans and programs manager, stands in the Westover Chapel July 24, 2020, at Westover Air Reserve Base, Massachusetts. Outside of the uniform, Chan works as a firefighter for the Boston Fire Department. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Shane Phipps)

WESTOVER AIR BASE, Mass. --

Sometimes, it takes a couple of tries to find the perfect career fit. When it happens, a person’s passion shines through everything they do. This is how it happened for Tech. Sgt. Raymond Chan, 439th Airlift Wing Religious Affairs plans and program manager.

Chan enlisted in the Air Force Reserve 16 years ago after his father suggested the military as a career.

He worked several career fields within the Reserve, including Aircraft Maintenance, Pararescue Helper and Fire Protection before picking Religious Affairs.

Chan said he enjoys listening to people and being a Religious Affairs airman allowed him to use his psychology degree as part of the Chapel’s crisis management assistance.

“I already do the rescue portion outside,” he explained. “And I’ve always been interested in the mental aspect because it feels like detective work.”

Chan became a Boston Fire Department firefighter four years ago.

“I didn’t grow up thinking I would be a firefighter,” he said. “It just kind of happened.”

He said working as a firefighter in Boston influenced his decision to leave the military Fire Protection career field.

“When I come to drill, I want to do something different,” he said.

Chan said he likes the flexibility both his civilian and military jobs give him to travel and participate in outdoor activities, especially overseas.

“Being able to see how other people live in other countries, especially countries where people don’t have it as well as us, gives me a greater appreciation of what we have,” he said.

He said the key to being happy at work was to enjoy what you do during your free time.

“If you can’t do your number one job, then do your number two job so you can live your number one life,” Chan said.