Fans of the Ellen Show might recognize O’Fallon Fire Protection District firefighter/paramedic Cody Hughes, who appeared on the daytime talk show in 2020.
Hughes, who joined OFPD in January 2022, grew up watching his mom work as a 911 dispatcher and knew he wanted to follow her path into the emergency services field.
“I have always been drawn to the excitement of the job and being able to help others in need,” he says. “Some days are harder or busier than others, but we have a lot of fun and love what we do.
“Every day is different. You can plan some parts of the day, but you never know when a call is going to come or what kind of call you will receive. We prepare for everything and always do our best to come up with the best solutions.”
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Public service has been a lifelong goal of firefighter/paramedic Parker Malensky, who grew up watching his brother work in the fire service.
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Firefighter/paramedic Jared Swafford was raised in the firehouse. The O’Fallon Fire Protection District firehouse, to be precise.
“I’ve been wanting to follow in my dad’s footsteps since I was little,” he says. “My dad has been a firefighter for 30ish years now. I have grown up in the firehouse and have known since the first grade this is the profession I want to do.
“I have always looked up to my dad because I have always wanted to be a firefighter just like him. Now to be able to accomplish that and be able to work with him is a very good feeling.”
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Like so many in the fire service, firefighter/paramedic Joe Sughero was drawn to the career by the camaraderie and the chance to be there for the community he calls home.
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Firefighter/paramedic Riley Schmidt grew up around the fire service and says while he originally went to school for engineering, he’s glad he made the decision to change career paths.
“I couldn’t imagine doing anything else,” the Flint Hill native says.
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Firefighter/paramedic Nick Mensio grew up admiring the first responders at work in his grandmother’s neighborhood.
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They say follow your dreams. Firefighter/paramedic Nick Woolbright did that — literally!
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