Father, husband, firefighter, engineer, hockey player, Black Belt, personal trainer, and grave digger—just some of the titles that Paul Roberts has or currently holds. We recently caught up with Paul to hear more about his tireless work serving his community, and why he’ll never get stuck doing something that makes him unhappy.
Speaking with Paul, you immediately recognize not only his warmth and charm, but the humble “no BS” nature, which is ironic, considering his past and current achievements. “First and foremost, I’m a husband and father,” Paul begins. “I was raised by Earl and Barb Roberts and am happily married to my high school infatuation, Jessica, and we have two amazingly awesome kids, Cohen and Ellis, together.”
“I‘ve been told I’m a very all-or-nothing kind of guy,” Paul jokes. This is evident from his accomplishments so far, but it wasn’t easy, he recalls. “Karate was the first time I was really tested in follow-through,” he notes. He was younger and, after seven years of training and some failure, he wanted to quit in pursuit of something more fun like hockey. “My father sat me down and said, ‘Listen, you’ve worked hard up to this point; don’t lose sight of that.’” He took his father’s trenchant advice and continued, soon feeling the satisfaction of obtaining his Black Belt. He spent his entire adolescence playing competitive hockey, cumulating in two years playing Juniors in the Western States Hockey League. Eventually, he found his way back to martial arts in his early twenties. He ended up fighting a few professional MMA bouts in the mid-to-late 2000s and has recently picked up training again.
Originally from West Jordan, Utah, Paul jokes, “I’ve been a lifelong employee of that city.” Starting in his sophomore year of high school as a seasonal laborer, he continued to work for the city full time throughout community college to pay his tuition. In his twenties, Paul was eventually promoted to the role of Cemetery Sexton, the “not so modern” term for a grave digger. There, he saw death on a daily basis and became more familiar than most with the idea that “you’ve only got one shot at this life”. To Paul, that job taught him to never get stuck doing things that made him unhappy. “There’s no time for that.” It also woke him up to the desire to affect the outcome of all the death he was seeing around him. Paul became a firefighter, once again for the City of West Jordan. He has been with the Fire Department for nine years now and is an engineer for Station 53, responsible for not only driving the firetruck but also hydraulic calculations and attack line decisions at fire scenes.
“I've been told
I’m a very all-or-nothing
kind of guy”
Physical mastery, training and constant improvement are at the core of Paul’s story. As a firefighter, he continues to train hard; he now holds additional specialized certification as a heavy rescue technician, training in victim extrication, high-angle rope, confined space and trench rescue. As an athlete, he continues to train in jiu-jitsu, Mixed Martial Arts, and Muay Thai kickboxing. He also helps others obtain their goals as a personal trainer in “their” gym, where he is known as “The Sect.”
“If I’m not at the station working, then I’m with my family. And if not there, then I’m at the gym working hard towards improvement, and assisting others in doing the same,” Paul notes. Family man, first responder, and trainer—Paul is definitely making his “one shot” count.