“I can remember when I was a little kid I always wanted to be a firefighter”
“I can remember when I was a little kid I always wanted to be a firefighter,” said Aaron Perry, a member of the Riceville Fire Department and also the manager of Sow 27. “I always looked up to those guys, and thought that one day maybe I could be like them and help save people.”
Aaron—now with 19 years with Iowa Select Farms and a family of his own—is doing just that. In his sixth year as a firefighter, he sacrifices his spare time to serving on the fire department with 20 other members of the Riceville community. “It’s a really good group of people who serve and respond to calls,” said Aaron. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for them. They bust their butts every day to rescue people and I know they would do the same for me.”
In addition to firefighting, Aaron is also one of the local ambulance (EMS) drivers, responding to emergency calls and transporting people from their homes or an accident scene to the hospital. “Helping people is a great feeling,” said Aaron. “These people are probably having one of the worst days of their lives and it feels good to be able to do something for them.”
Aaron spends time on training and certifications necessary to be an active member of the department. His Firefighter 1 class is a one-time, 140-hour training, followed by 30 additional hours to achieve Firefighter 2 status, which he has. He also annually renews his Hazmat, CPR and First Aid training, and puts in 24 hours of additional annual training and meetings. All of this is time away from home and his fiancé, Mary (who manages Sow 23), and their 7-year old daughter, Kylee. “Mary has always been incredibly supportive, has carried the load at home and covers for me. I owe her the biggest ‘thank you’ for letting me do this.”
And it’s not uncommon for Kylee to accompany Aaron to fire department meetings. “I guess she likes the big trucks just like her dad,” laughs Aaron. Aaron also enjoys the outreach programs the Riceville Fire Department does with Kylee’s 2nd grade class and all of the elementary levels, teaching them about fire safety and what to do in an emergency. “The kids are awesome, they look up to us,” said Aaron. “I try to be a good role model just like I had when I was a kid.”
Aaron says the departments receives about 20-30 calls a year, oftentimes ag related, like grain fires and grass fires, and also putting out house and building fires. The members of the fire department work in teams, especially with house fires where teams of two work the interior of the home while others grab hoses to fight the flames.
It takes special people like Aaron and his fellow team members who demonstrate an extraordinary amount of selflessness, courage and bravery, especially when faced with the challenge of running into a burning building. But Aaron is quick to shrug it off, “If it’s somebody’s kid in there, you are going to go, just like you hope someone else would do for your own child,” said Aaron.
THANK YOU TO ALL MEMBERS OF THE RICEVILLE FIRE DEPARTMENT AND ALL OF OUR BRAVE AND SELFLESS FIREFIGHTERS, EMS TEAMS, POLICE OFFICERS AND PEOPLE WHO STEP UP AND SERVE TO KEEP OUR COMMUNITIES AND FAMILIES SAFE. #billionpounds