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A recurring series on WGLT's Sound Ideas about the central Illinois athletes who do incredible things, even after the game is over.

Beyond Sports: ISU’s Peyton Cramer draws similarities between football and firefighting

Peyton Cramer
ISU athletics
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Peyton Cramer

Football is big in Peyton Cramer's family. So is fighting fires.

The Illinois State University sophomore has an interest in both and he's doing both while still in school. Cramer is a backup long snapper on the ISU football team and he's a volunteer firefighter in his hometown of Saunemin in Livingston County.

His father, Craig Cramer, is the assistant chief and has been with the department of over 20 years. His two grandfathers also served as firefighters.

In this edition of Beyond Sports, Cramer explains how his two passions intersect and what they have in common.

Cramer said both football and firefighting are physically demanding, and when it comes to long-snapping to the punter, you are at your best when your work goes unnoticed.

“I don’t really want my name to be said on a scene because then it’s probably not a good thing,” Cramer said. “Just like on the field, I don’t want anyone to know when I’m out there really, just to not have a bad snap.”

Aside from this family’s legacy in fighting fires, Cramer said he considers it a form of community service.

“Helping somebody out on their worst day possible, trying to make their day a little better, that really hit home,” Cramer said, recalling a car accident in which firefighters came to his mother and brother’s rescue.

Cramer wants to help find more people his age to pursue firefighting as a career. Cramer, 20, said the Saunemin Fire Department, like many rural fire departments across the county, is understaffed as they respond to fires, vehicle crashes and medical calls. He said the department has 13 volunteers who can make calls regularly.

“I’m the youngest one there by five to 10 years. Doing this shows other people it’s possible to get more younger people involved,” Cramer said.

Cramer said he plans to graduate from ISU in 2024 or 2025, depending on how his football career pans out. He still has three years of football eligibility remaining.

Cramer plans to pursue a job as a fulltime firefighter and paramedic in Pontiac when he graduates. Cramer majors in horticulture and landscaping at ISU, and said he took a firefighting class while in high school at Pontiac.

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