Joe Waldvogel works to keep NH safe; sometimes he likes to blow things up
HILL - As a state trooper, Joe Waldvogel Jr., 35, works each day to keep New Hampshire citizens safe. Though he does enjoy long-distance running to work off the stresses of the job, his other hobby isn't exactly quiet and relaxing: pyrotechnics.
Last summer, he found a way to extend his public service through that hobby when he volunteered to help his town of Hill, population 1,100, celebrate its Old Home Day with a big bang despite a tiny budget. The town, which only budgets for a celebration every 10 years, asked Waldvogel what he could do with $2,000. By putting it all into supplies and giving his time and knowledge of the best Class C fireworks to invest in, he was able to wire and light off a show that looked like it cost three times as much, complete with a spectacular finale.
'I still have people coming up to me out of the blue saying what a memorable moment that was,' Waldvogel said.
His efforts were a reflection of the respect he has for the small community he and his wife, Melanie, have called home since 2004.
'It's a wonderful place. Everybody appreciates each other. You walk down the street and people say hello. It's a true sense of community. I feel like I've taken a step back in time to where people really take care of one another,' he said.
He said he enjoys talking with neighbors and local police about law enforcement issues, and his neighbors enjoy that when he's at home, his state trooper cruiser becomes a visible crime deterrent.
Waldvogel, a former Concord police officer and state highway patrolman, now works at the forefront of emergency management as the liaison between dispatchers and state troopers on the road. Though his heart is on the road patrolling the state's highways, when he was asked to serve in communications after budget cuts created a shortage in this area, he pitched in to fill the void.
'I'm glad to be able to continue to do that and keep in mind the mission of what the state police actually stands for - teamwork, integrity, basically just doing the job you're asked to do with pretty much zero resistance,' he said.
Being able to serve his fellow troopers in his communications position is very rewarding, he said.
'They're dealing with someone who has done the job, and when they call in with issues and questions, I know what their issues are,' he said.