Fire Fighters Association of Missouri

District 3 Update – November 2021

Let me introduce myself to those who may not know me. My name is Josh Loyd, your new District 3 Assistant Director. To tell you a little about myself, I was born and raised in Mexico, Missouri. I started my career in the fire service in April of 2001 as a cadet with Little Dixie Fire Protection District. At that moment, I knew the fire service was where I was supposed to be. I found a passion I never knew existed, and this passion led me to graduate from high school and become a firefighter/paramedic. I have never been one to let another pave my path, but putting in the work and having others guide you is an unbelievable feeling.

We have been fortunate to have excellent leaders lay the groundwork for us to build on. For me, those leaders started with my parents, my cadet coordinators, officers in our department, teachers, my father-in-law, who is also in the fire service, and my wife. Everyone was being watched. I wanted to make an impact in the fire service and felt I could help myself help others by joining such a wonderful thing as the fire service.

As I got older, I wanted to make an impact on myself, but I started to figure out I could not do everything myself. I paid attention to new people in the service, asking them questions about what they wished they had when they started. Or what is one thing they wish they could pass on to another new person? My focus grew to improve what the fire service was doing for new members. I quickly discovered that most were not looking for a monetary kickback or were not here for the lights and sirens ride. They also wanted to make a difference but didn’t know where or how to start. I heard things like, “I feel like everyone thinks I should know these things because I’m now a firefighter,” or “how am I ever supposed to know where everything is on the truck? I just walked through the door and was given gear and a pager.”

I can say, we as a fire service, have greatly improved at guiding new firefighters by helping them understand the who, what, when, where, and why. It is easy for experienced firefighters to believe that someone will catch on or learn as they go, but our experience gives us a responsibility to help them learn before they must know. I want to thank all of you for making your department better by passing on your experiences and guiding the new.

As my tenure in the fire service grew, I learned we had little preparation for trauma or experiences that would leave a lasting impression on us, whether it be good or bad. I ask you to make yourself available. Ask the hard questions! When is the last time someone asked you:

 • With what you just experienced what are your thoughts?

• Can you handle going on another call right now?

• What state is your mental health in?

I have been fortunate enough to have been asked some of these questions. At first, I did not want to answer them. Then I realized I needed to let these demons out. I started talking about them, learning from them, and allowing for a better tomorrow. You will find someone that is truly ok with their phone ringing at two in the morning for you to simply express your feelings. You will also find you are not the only one who needs this. I ask you to try something new. Make yourself available and allow yourself to be expressive. Reach out to someone you know who has had a rough day in the business. Lending an ear may save a life.

It has become my passion. I have not forgotten what my passion was when I started the fire service. I gained a new passion along the way.

By the time you read this, my wife and I will have moved to Martinsburg, Missouri, and I will have joined the Martinsburg Area Fire Protection District. My passion for the fire service is still very much alive, and I look forward to what is next for us, and you. 

Share your story with others. Break out of your zone and do something positively uncomfortable. You may be surprised as to what you can accomplish or do for someone.

“Step outside of your comfort zone and go beyond the boundaries that you and others have set for yourself” – Julius Veal

I hope the holidays bring you joy, and that you can spend much-needed time with your families and friends. Stay safe!