Growing up in a farming community, Brandon Hutcheson learned the meaning of giving back to the community at a young age.
“My mom was an ER Nurse, and my dad was military for 33 years,” Hutcheson said. “We were kind of a service family, which was a motivation for me to serve the community. It’s a way I can give back to the community with work I enjoy.”
Hutcheson first trained as a volunteer firefighter for the city of Van Meter back in 2000. He would later go on to volunteer for the city of De Soto in 2003 before taking a little break to attend paramedic school.
“When I first moved to Dallas County, there wasn’t a full time department there. I’ve been there 19 years now,” Hutcheson said. “I was a farmer and I farmed with my family. I was a welder professionally and anything mechanical always interested me. Then, after losing my cousin in a car accident, it really pushed me from being a volunteer to a professional.”
Today, Hutcheson works as a full time firefighter for the City of Des Moines, in addition to acting as a volunteer firefighter for the City of De Soto.
“The job is the same whether volunteering in De Soto or working full-time in Des Moines. We provide medical care to people who need it and provide fire protection. The thing is you’re doing your job for somebody and it could be one of the worst days of their lives,” Hutcheson said.
In addition, Hutcheson emphasized the importance of firefighter volunteers throughout a community.
“If someone has a little time they can contribute every month, every department is always needing volunteers. I know it’s made a big difference in my life when you can come back and say I did the very best on this day when someone is having the worst day of their life,” Hutcheson said.
As a De Soto volunteer, Hutcheson not only assists with calls but also aids in the training of recruits. Hutcheson describes training as a combination of both a once a year academy and on-the-job learning. He also noted that becoming a firefighter is not something that can be done overnight, but is a series of training exercises and experience on the job.
“I like to teach. I have all kinds of certifications, and I bring a little of that out in De Soto,” Hutcheson said, “De Soto will take somebody that has never been in the fire service and once a year we have an academy where they are taught basic firefighter knowledge and do some live fire training. But a lot of it is on the job.”
This past month, Hutcheson was presented with the Des Moines Fire Department Honorous Unit Award. This Meritorious award was received after Hutcheson and his team responded to a structure fire on the Northeast Side of Des Moines. Hutcheson explained that a female was found alive and unconscious on the upper level of a house. The firefighters pulled her out and she survived with a complete recovery.
“I’m not a rewards guy. It’s my job. We work for the busiest engine company in the state of Iowa. That’s what I do for a living and it’s what the people of Des Moines pay me to do,” Hutcheson said.
When not working as a firefighter, Hutcheson enjoys spending time with his boys and visiting his family farm in Gilman, Iowa.