Growing up, their family’s single-story ranch home on Osborn Road seemed the center of the universe to Adam and Ben Hoster.
Their elementary school, Pima, was directly across the street. So was the paper drop for their Arizona Republic delivery routes. Soccer and baseball practice, plus games of hide-and-seek, unfolded on Pima’s fields.
And when those fields were irrigated during warmer months, there was rag-tag, slosh-and-slide, play-till-dark football. “We’d grab a bunch of guys and just kill it on that field,” recalled Ben.
It was on those fields where the brothers developed a friendly rivalry that still simmers today as Scottsdale first responders.
Whether it was team sports, racing BMX bikes or their pursuit to each earn Eagle Scout, Adam and Ben pushed each other. Pima and its playing fields also engrained into Adam and Ben a deep sense of sharing and community. After school or practice, their friends would descend in mass on the Hoster household for snacks, a swim or video games. “My mom was always shopping and feeding for an army,” Adam said.
The Hosters would go on to earn those Eagle badges, and graduate from Pima and nearby Coronado High School. They would separate, travel abroad and explore careers. But they would never really leave the Osborn Road universe. The quality of their childhood, the cohesiveness of the neighborhood, the pull of friendship bought them back.
Adam was the first to feel it. He was at Scottsdale Community College, working toward an engineering degree, when he took a ride along with the Rural/Metro Fire Department. “After that I was hooked,” Adam said. He started taking fire service classes and volunteering with Rural/Metro.
Ben, 18 months younger, was impressed by Adam’s growth and his burgeoning responsibility. “I thought it was cool that he could grab his pager back in the day, respond and help out at scenes,” Ben said. “I thought that was kind of neat.”
Adam earned a fire service degree and joined Rural/Metro in 1992. He was an original member of the Scottsdale Fire Department when it launched in 2005.
Ben took a different path. He spent two years near Bogota, Columbia, on a church mission, learned Spanish and returned to Arizona State University to study accounting. “Then I realized I’m not an office guy,” he said.
Public safety beckoned… but not the fire service. There was, after all, a rivalry to maintain. Ben wanted to become a police officer, but not just any cop. He had his sights set on becoming a Scottsdale officer.
“I wanted a job with meaning and purpose,” Ben said recently, standing next to his brother not far from their childhood home. “When I started looking at police work, I fell in love with it. And it bought me back here.”
Ben graduated the police academy in 1997 and landed his dream job on the Scottsdale force. He was reunited with his brother – working on the same team, just wearing different uniforms.
“Every time I’d run a call, I’d always have an ‘in’ with Adam,” Ben said. “I already knew the (fire) guys and the guys were friendly to me because of Adam. It’s a nice relationship we have between the departments.”
Adam agrees. “It works both ways,” he said. “Those relationships help us out working with the police department. It’s great to have that collaboration with them.”
The brothers are now seasoned public safety vets. Adam is a fire battalion chief. Ben is a police sergeant. In another twist, each cover public information duties for their departments. A few years back, both were assigned that job at the Waste Management Phoenix Open – a marathon stint of constant inquiries and pressure.
“So, we basically had to spend seven days at the hip,” said Ben, who was just settling into his public information role.
“That first year I had to coach him up before he could do a news interview,” said Adam, returning the flak he received earlier.
Ben smirked – “Yeah, after you quit eating.”
The banter never stops. But neither does the pride of serving their hometown. “For us, Scottsdale was a great proving ground,” Ben said. “It was a great place to grow up… to have the school to play in, to have friends all over the place. It was a great environment.”
“(Scottsdale) is really all we’ve ever known,” Adam said. “But after growing up and seeing other cities, I feel really fortunate to have grown up in Scottsdale.”
Knowledge gleaned from their childhood paid immediate dividends in public safety. “When I went on an emergency response and an address was given, I pretty much knew exactly where I was going,” Adam said.
And perhaps the sweetest part of being a first responder in your hometown is assisting friends and neighbors. “It definitely strikes a chord because of the closeness and relationships you build,” Adam said.
Ben agrees, but not all his old buddies get warm and fuzzy when they see him. “In my case, I’ve arrested a few people that I knew growing up,” he said. “They’ll say ‘Hey, remember me?’ I’ll say ‘Oh yeah, now I do. How’s life… never mind, you’re in the back of my squad car.”