What’s in a Name?

Public Health & Safety

Whenever Belgian immigrant Lynx Tepatondele Teta Delozege heard sirens outside his Central Florida home, one thought always crossed his mind: “I should become a firefighter.”

The  Central Florida transplant’s journey to the Orange County Fire Department was not easy. Delozege faced many challenges along the way… not the least annoying of which was his name.

His parents named him Lynx, but the Belgian government would not recognize the name of an animal as a first name. Delozege did not want to change it, so, according to his Belgian ID card, he had no first name.

Delozege was born in Brussels after his parents migrated from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. At 18, he stood 6’3, was a natural athlete, and played for a professional basketball team in Belgium. His skills opened opportunities for him to attend U.S. universities, where he developed his game while earning a degree. In 2002, he graduated from Pembroke, North Carolina, with a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education.

After college, he returned to Belgium, where he continued to play semi-professional basketball while also working as a physical trainer

In 2010, he signed his family up for the green card lottery to become U.S. residents. After seven years, the green cards finally arrived, but U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services put FNA (First Name Unknown) under his name.

After moving to America, Delozege continued to work multiple jobs with no sign of a real career, and it was not until the COVID pandemic hit that lightning struck, or, in his case, a fire truck siren called out to him. It was at this point he decided to make a move and become an Orange County Fire Rescue firefighter.

While attending fire school, he worked multiple jobs for months and had to keep telling himself failure was not an option. It took two attempts, but he finally received his certification. He joined Orange County Fire Rescue Department’s Class 104 in December 2023 and plans to train to become a paramedic.

Today, the 47-year-old father of four is ready to serve his community. “I know this was the right decision for me,” he asserted. “I work with a great crew at Fire Station 52. They challenge me, but it reminds me of the discipline and rigors of playing basketball, which I love.”

He credits his wife, Isabelle, for being his inspiration and caring for their children. His difficult journey also showed his children what hard work can accomplish. They took this lesson to heart, and his eldest daughter, Lyah, recently received a full academic scholarship from Yale University.

Engaged in his new career, Delozege has one goal remaining – to become a U.S. citizen with the name Lynx Jean Marie Tepatondele Teta Delozege. “I want to add Jean Marie as a middle name in honor of my father,” he said.

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