To protect and serve: Tony Ward, firefighter/paramedic, Fort Dodge Fire Department
How long have you been in the fire service/emergency medical service?
I started my career at Trinity Regional Medical Center as an EMT in 2008. I worked as an EMT there for two years while working toward my paramedic certification. After receiving my paramedic certification, I continued working at Trinity for another eight years. In 2018, I transitioned to the Fort Dodge Fire Department as a firefighter/paramedic. To simplify, I have been in EMS for over 12 years and a firefighter for just over two years.
What other fire service/emergency medical service agencies have you served with?
I served as a Webster County Reserve Deputy/ Fort Dodge Police Reserve for seven years. I worked very briefly at Calhoun County EMS. I worked briefly for IXP dispatch here in Webster County.
What is an interesting fact about you that some might not know?
I am horribly afraid of heights. Working at the Fire Department has pushed me to overcome this fear. We do a lot of activities that require us to be in some interesting situations, very high off the ground. For example, fighting fire from the tip of the ladder truck, or hanging from a rope off of the side of the four-story training tower has forced me to work through that fear.
What is the most memorable incident you’ve responded to?
In 12 years there have been some very memorable incidents, however I will say the most memorable calls I have been a part of were the ones that we truly make a difference in someone’s life. Whether we make a lifesaving intervention, or help someone change their living conditions for the better by giving them options they were unaware of, being a positive part of someone’s worst day makes an incident memorable.
What’s the best part of your day?
This is easy. Dinnertime. We have some outstanding cooks at the fire station.
What gives you the most satisfaction in your job?
Knowing I can continue to serve the community and make a difference is what gives me the most satisfaction. Also, the camaraderie that the fire service has is second to nothing I’ve ever experienced in very many other jobs in my life. Knowing I can trust my life to my co-workers gives me great comfort and job satisfaction.
What is the toughest part of your job?
The toughest part of my job is doing everything I have been trained to do to save someone’s life, but losing that battle regardless. We do know as medical professionals that we can’t save everyone, but it’s still something that weights on me, personally.