DAKOTA CITY, Neb. (KCAU) — It’s not every day you meet someone living out a dream they’ve had since they were five years old, but that’s exactly what a Dakota City woman is doing after battling serious health issues.
Meet her and her father working side by side in this week’s edition of Siouxland Stories.
“Somebody asked me one day to join the fire department, so I thought I’d try it out. Here I am 22 years later. Still have the passion to serve my community in the fire department. I enjoy every minute of it,” said Clint Rasmussen.
Clint Rasmussen has been serving the Dakota City Fire Department for as long as his daughter Emma has been alive. For the last 12 years, he’s been chief.
The father-daughter relationship these two have is not the most typical.
“It’s very satisfying that Emma decided, when she turned 21, to join the Dakota City Fire Department, to follow in my footsteps,” said Clint. “It’s hard these days to get volunteers to step up for the many training hours that it takes for someone to be on a fire department and do what we ask of them.”
“They’ve known ever since I was in kindergarten that I wanted to be on the fire department. They’ve been very supportive and I’m lucky to have them,” Emma Rasmussen said.
This is especially true when considering Emma’s path to the firehouse is unique.
“Emma has her own challenges in her life. She’s fought thyroid cancer, her hearing loss in one ear. So, you know, just the struggles and challenges she’s had in her young life. To show that she wants to take on this new challenge, to be on the fire department, is gratifying for me that she was willing to take on the challenge,” Clint said.
“I was 12-years-old when I found out I had thyroid cancer, at the end of 6th grade. I went through a lot. It wasn’t easy. Some days are harder than others, still to this day. There’s a stage where I don’t want to do anything, just stay in bed all day but I just continue to get up and keep fighting those challenges,” Emma said.
Despite her own personal challenges, she joined the department and went through rigorous exercises just like every other volunteer.
“I’ve had to separate dad versus fire chief, but it’s been working out very well and I’m very proud of Emma for taking on this challenge,” said Clint.
“Training has been hard, cause I’m hard of hearing and I do read lips. Not a lot of people can say they’re hard of hearing and be on the fire department at the same time because it is challenging,” said Emma. “I continue to work hard each day, and you just keep practicing until you get it right.”
This is a tradition the family is looking forward to continuing.
“As a father, as a fire chief, not just for Emma but two other daughters, it’s very satisfying that my three daughters are volunteering as much as I did,” Clint said.
“Even little girls, little kids to this day, they need to go for their dreams, what they want to do and they’ve got to stick with it and they’ve got to work hard. Hard work pays off,” Emma said.
Both Emma and Clint said they’d also like to thank the community for supporting the fire department and voting yes to a new facility that the department has been using for the last fire years now.