Giving back

Schuster realizes childhood dream as FD firefighter

-Messenger photo by Peter Kaspari
Fort Dodge Firefighter Devon Schuster removes a Halligan tool and a flat-head axe from a fire engine recently. Schuster has been with the Fire Department for a year and three months.

Growing up in Fort Dodge, Devon Schuster wanted to give back to his hometown when he got older.

And just over a year ago, he got that chance when he was hired as a member of the Fort Dodge Fire Department.

Schuster has always been interested in being a firefighter, even when he was very young.

“I keep a picture, and it’s actually in front of one of our old rigs that we have,” Schuster said. “I was about 8 years old. I spent a little bit of time here. I’ve just always admired the guys and how much they do.”

But it was actually a violent incident that pushed Schuster into deciding that a career in public safety was the right one for him.

On Oct. 5, 2013, Schuster, who was in his senior year at Fort Dodge Senior High, was attending the school’s homecoming dance.

During the night, a Manson Northwest Webster student who was attending the dance was stabbed in the back with a pocket knife while he was dancing with a girl.

Schuster was standing just feet away when the stabbing happened.

“I didn’t really know what to do at the time,” Schuster said. “That kind of got me into the public service and wanting to get my EMT and paramedic (certifications).”

Since joining the Fire Department a year and three months ago, Schuster said he considers it the “best job in the world.”

“I think that phrase gets thrown out a lot,” he said. “But it’s the truth. You get to come to work every day and hang out with a second family.”

“It’s definitely the best job in the world.”

Schuster said there are many aspects of being a firefighter that he enjoys, but one of his favorites is interacting with the public.

In particular, he has given tours of the station to children, and has gone to area schools to give presentations on what the jobs of firefighters entail.

“It’s just because I was that kid,” he said. “I remember them coming out when I was in grade school and growing up. That started to pique my interest into this career field.”

Schuster added that he would love to be an inspiration for a child to one day become a firefighter, much like he once was.

He also enjoys being a leader in the community.

“I think, when you sign up for this job, you accept the role to lead by example,” he said. “Whether that’s younger firefighters below you or kids out in the community, you put yourself in the position for people to kind of look up to you. It’s something I’ve always admired about it.”

While he said being a firefighter can be challenging and not every call ends the way the department would prefer, there are also moments that make him happy.

“We have people who walk in and thank us for what we do,” he said. “I think every day you can impact someone in the simplest way.”

“There definitely are plenty of calls where people come in and say ‘thank you,'” Schuster added. “We get thank you cards all the time from people.”