By TYLER MASK
Everywhere around us, there are heroes - people that rise to the occasion and help others in need.
This week, one of Mineral Wells’ heroes was not only recognized for all he does in the community, but promoted to a position of greater esteem and responsibility.
On Monday, Mineral Wells firefighter and paramedic Ryan Dunn was promoted to Captain of the Mineral Wells Fire Department.
The brief ceremony began with an address by Fire Chief Mike Pool, who mentioned the importance of a promotion, comparing it to many of life’s great accomplishments.
He went on to speak highly of Dunn and expressed his excitement in having Dunn sign on as captain.
Most notably, however, Pool said, “I’ve got to get him promoted before I start giving him the real work,” to which the audience responded with laughter.
Dunn - although a resident of Peaster - is no stranger to Mineral Wells; he was born here after all. One could even say that Crazy Water runs in his veins.
Dunn has served nine years in this field of work, with the Mineral Wells Fire Department comprising the most recent three and a half years.
Dunn said what started it all was positive peer pressure.
“I had a bunch of friends that were doing it, so I tagged along with them,” Dunn said. “I eventually got interested enough to move up the ranks through (the volunteer) department.”
His initial experience in first response began at the Lubbock County Volunteer Fire Department, in the same city where Dunn also received his training and education.
Shortly after signing on with Lubbock, Dunn received his Emergency Medical Training and worked as an Emergency Medical Technician Basic between two and three years.
From there, Dunn received his EMT Intermediate and served for another four years before he finally became a paramedic.
Multitasking is not for everyone, but for those working in first response, it appears it is something everyone must learn to do. Dunn personifies this idea, as he is skilled both as a paramedic and a firefighter.
Between 2008 and 2009, Dunn’s experience paid off. He got certified and got his first paid job in Plainview.
Now, three and a half years later, Dunn is putting on the honorary red helmet of a Fire Captain and stepping his game up further.
To be considered for the position, Dunn had to apply and go through testing, where he was pitted against others vying for the position as well.
From the test procedure, all candidates were ranked in an order revealing the most qualified applicants from the top, down.
Dunn recalls applying in the past and ranking second. But he said he continued strong in his position and simply prepared for the next opening. And this time around, he was the person for the job.
Although he is excited to be in a position of authority, he understands that it is still a position in the direct line of fire.
“(It’s) scary,” Dunn said about finally becoming a captain. “You just always want to make the right decisions and never want to get anybody hurt.”
Concerning his future goals, Dunn is ready for whatever comes his way.
“There are still a lot of certifications I need to better myself and to keep learning, to make myself and my co-workers better,” Dunn said. “[As] they say, ‘lead by example.’”
In addition to much of the Mineral Wells Fire/EMS Department, Dunn’s wife, Shaina; children, Reece, and Rayden; mother, Stephanie Jones; and his in-laws, Mike and Kim Floyd attended the ceremony. At the ceremony, Dunn’s wife was given the honor of pinning on his new badge, and Chief Pool presented him with the honorary red helmet.
“(I) just (want to) be able to help people,” Dunn said. “That’s what I got into it for.”