Staff profile: Eric Bertrand

When Eric Michael Bertrand left home for a college 1,500 miles away in August 2012, he thought he’d return a sports journalist. Two and a half years later, Bertrand will come back with a journalism degree, but with aspirations of becoming a firefighter.

Bertrand, an Escondido, California, native, chose to attend the University of Nebraska-Lincoln because of his interest in its journalism program. That interest, however, faded over the summer.thing

Game after game. Interview after interview. Story after story. Covering sports for the Daily Nebraskan became too repetitive.

“I got bored of sports journalism,” he said. But quitting wouldn’t look good, Bertrand conceded, so the 21-year-old will finish his degree in December.

That way he can show his two ideal potential employers — the Los Angeles Fire Department or the Escondido Fire Department — that he can finish schooling. A possible 4 percent bonus with the Escondido department for the degree doesn’t hurt either.

His goal is to follow in the footsteps of his dad, Escondido Battalion Chief Michael Eric Bertrand, although he prefers Los Angeles’ crew to Escondido’s. The entry requirements in Los Angeles consist of passing a test and random selection.

“You have to be 18 and breathing,” he said.

He’d also need paramedic training with Escondido, which could take several months.

And a lot can change in several months. Bertrand knows better than most.

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