MUSCATINE, Iowa–This January, four new firefighters joined the ranks of the Muscatine Fire Department. David Grafton, Sean Paustian, Brandon Rodriguez, and Chance Sutherland all started with the department in mid-January and have since begun learning what it takes to help keep the Muscatine community safe.
A native of Silvis, Illinois, Grafton worked for the Rock Island County Sheriff’s Department for 10 years. He also served as a volunteer fire fighter and found himself wanting to do more to help people in emergency situations. After doing a ride-along with a friend with the department and seeing the variety of work in Muscatine, he knew he wanted to continue his career there. He looks forward to responding to emergencies of all kinds. “I enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done, when you go on a medical call and help someone or a fire call and get to put your skills to the test,” he shared.
Originally from Tipton, Paustian spent the last 15 years serving as a volunteer firefighter and the last 12 as an EMT. Wanting to make a full time career out of firefighting, Paustian decided to apply to the Muscatine Fire Department because he had heard many good things about it. As he embarks on this new undertaking, he appreciates the chance to, “continue my skills and knowledge and the potential for growth in a growing department and field.”
After taking a vocational class exploring firefighting in high school in his hometown of Galesburg, Illinois, Rodriguez fell in love with the career. Once Rodriguez graduated from high school, he worked for three years as an EMT-B, and earned his paramedic certification. After starting work on his associates degree, Rodriguez sought a fulltime job. At the recommendation of a former colleague, he chose to work in Muscatine. Rodriguez likes helping the community in different ways and getting to live out his dream of working as a firefighter. “Now, I get paid to play with all these tools and do such amazing work with great guys!” he beamed.
In 2018, Sutherland joined his local volunteer fire department in Walcott as a way to help people. Shortly afterwards, he obtained his EMT-B certification. Hoping to do more fire-based EMT work, Sutherland learned about the Muscatine Fire Department through friends in the Dek Hockey League in Bettendorf and chose to apply for an open position. Sutherland hopes to use his skills to benefit his new community.