AKRON, Ohio — Growing up in Akron, Trumaine, Truvonte and Tia Riley learned the importance of giving back to their community from their parents who volunteered their time organizing pee wee football games and cheerleading events at Patterson Park.
"Not only were we teammates with these kids, we were almost growing up with them like siblings— like brothers and sisters— because our parents were so heavily involved with them," Tia Riley said.
As they got older, the siblings were drawn to careers filled with people who pride themselves on a brotherhood and sisterhood— first responders.
Trumaine Riley led the way. He has been an Akron police officer for eight years after moving back home from North Carolina where he started his career in law enforcement.
"Even as a youngster, I wanted to be a role model for my siblings, so I wanted to be able to take strides and do things first and show them that it was possible," he said.
Truvonte Riley followed his big brother's footsteps and joined the force two years ago.
"I've always wanted to be like my older brother. He has been great. He was the first child so he's always been a positive role model to look up to," he said.
Riley said the job is filled with many challenges including concerns over violence on the streets and working with the public during the pandemic.
"My class was the class that was called the COVID class. While we we're going through our academy, that's when COVID happened," Riley said. "I think one of the hardest things is just relating to people with a mask on, but it is what it is. We have to stay safe and keep the community safe."
Not to be outdone by her brothers, Tia Riley made the decision about five years ago to become an Akron firefighter.
Riley, who is small in stature, believes she makes a big impression on young girls when they find out what she does for a living.
"They would get so excited like, "You're a firefighter?" And, I'm like, yeah, I fight fires," Riley said. "I'm actually the one on the tip. I spray out the fire."
Another brother, Zachary Riley, was also an Akron firefighter and is interested in trying to return to the job, his family said.
Trumaine and Truvonte Riley also stressed the importance of interacting with kids while on the job.
"You can also grow up here and live the life of a youngster in Akron and also be a professional in Akron," Trumaine Riley said.
"Since I've been on the department, I've done a bunch of community relations projects with the kids. I've gone sledding down Goodyear Metro Park with some kids, so it's a great opportunity to be out there in the community," Truvonte Riley said.
The "three T's" said they're proud of their dedication to serving—- instilled in them at a young age— and honored to help protect the city they love.
"We are here for you," Tia Riley said. "You can always call us."