My career as a public servant
I worked for the City of Maplewood as a Firefighter/EMT. I started there on Nov. 16, 1985 and retired on Nov.16, 2016. It was the best and most enjoyable time of my life. It was always a great feeling to walk through the engine bay every morning at the beginning of each shift and say a quiet prayer asking for strength, courage and endurance to push through any situation and to find and help those in need.
Early on in my career I became eager to learn and take classes. I became the department’s personnel in charge of our SCBA (self-contained breathing apparatus) that we carry on our backs during emergency operations when air is compromised. I was certified by Scott Aviation as a field technician. I was proud that I kept our personnel up to date with the latest and best equipment.
I’m also proud that the fire chief asked me about creating and establishing a tech rescue team. This team would respond to all fire departments in the central county area requiring tech rescue operations, which include high angle rope rescue, confined space rescue, trench rescue, swift water rescue, ice rescue, vehicle extrication and more. It means so much to me since my retirement, to see how members of the department have taken this to new heights and imagination. I’m proud to see and watch what they do and how they perform.
I ended my career after 31 years as a lead engineer, and as I look back, I feel blessed that I’ve worked with some of the best firefighters and police officers in the country.
The next chapter
Only two months after retiring I began to seek out something different to do. I applied for and was accepted to work at Silver Dollar City near Branson, working full time on their EMS Team. This also was an exciting time and another joy to work for such an amazing family and organization.
I later accepted a position at White Water, where I was introduced to MO DMAT-1 (Missouri Disaster Assistance Team-1) and R-S-I, (Response Systems International) organizations with Medical Strike Teams which respond at an instant when called.
R-S-I responds when called upon by FEMA to any disasters requiring medical assistance. While working with R-S-I, I’ve responded to Puerto Rico during a devastating hurricane and have been deployed to Louisiana where we’re assisting with medical services during the pandemic. I’m with a medical strike team there where we assist Louisiana residents who have contracted COVID-19. Our field camp is set up at Chicot State Park. I was there March 21st – June 1; and back July 5 for another 2 month stretch, working 12 hour shifts. Recently I returned to Louisiana for another deployment. There’s a lot of us fighting in the trenches, but it’s been very challenging so far. We got more patients than expected.
While not on deployment, I work for a school for special needs children called PALS House. The class I help with teaches life skills to students age 17-22. We teach basic life skills that enable them to work and make successful community adjustments. There is so much that we take for granted that is a challenge for these students. We strive to teach and give simple structure to each student that will enable them to live independently as much as possible. It’s so rewarding to see the joy on their faces when a task is completed.
Providing support and encouragement
The person that is my strong hold is my loving, sweet wife Cheryl. She has been by my side this entire time giving me the nudge to move forward and pull my reins when I get blinded. She has held me, wiped my tears, and comforted me when all things seemed lost. It takes someone special to let their loved ones leave to fight such terrible circumstances knowing that in an instant I could not be returning. My wife is a wonderful woman, telling me “you’ve been doing this for 31 years, going into places where everyone is trying to get away from. Go where you are needed.”
“What drives me is the desire to reach out and touch those in need during a terrible crisis. With my training and work experiences in the emergency field I’m ready to react without hesitation to help others and give my all.”
Thank you for your time in reading this about my life. May God Bless each and every one of you.