A native of Muscatine County, Mike Hartman grew up near Moscow and graduated from Wilton High School. After meeting his wife at Muscatine Community College, he thought about settling down locally and about choosing a stable career. Hartman’s parents and his time in Boy Scouts instilled a love of helping people in him. Always active, Hartman knew he would not enjoy an office job. With these considerations in mind, Hartman applied to work for the Muscatine Fire Department. 26 years later, Hartman developed a career that fulfilled both these interests and more.
Hartman values his personal connections with other members of the Muscatine Fire Department, and the national and international friendships he has formed with firefighters from all over.
On the job, Hartman has had extensive experience working with hazardous material, accidents, train crashes, and fire and medical emergencies. In these tough situations, Hartman appreciates the gratitude of the fire victims and emergency medical patients he assists.
He also deeply values times the Muscatine Fire Department and others came together in the face of tragedies. Nationally, Hartman experienced this connection when he traveled to New York after 9/11. Locally, Hartman saw departments from across the state unite after a firefighter fatality in Muscatine in 2002. “That feeling of family is indescribable,” he recalled.
Along with serving as a firefighter, Hartman also volunteers extensively.
Previously, Hartman volunteered with the County Conservation Board and as a reserve sheriff deputy, diver, and SWAT team medic. Now, Hartman works with Muscatine’s first female Boy Scouts troop and strives to provide them with service opportunities.
For Hartman though, helping only makes sense in a community that offers so much. “We are big enough, but not too big,” explained Hartman. “This is something we often gripe about . . . but the flip side is we have quick access to an amazing array of services and businesses, yet we don’t have many of the bigger city problems.” He also finds the people “simply amazing,” and values, “how much those who have limited income are willing to share what they have for those in need.”