When voters approved a tax levy increase for the Mid County Fire Protection District, officials were able to maintain the level of service as promised during the campaign.

When voters approved a tax levy increase for the Mid County Fire Protection District, officials were able to maintain the level of service as promised during the campaign. As a way of maintaining that service, recently Mid County replaced five personnel vacancies which were already included in this year's budget.

Curtis Bowen, promoted to Captain

The Mid County Fire Protection District has been a part of Curtis Bowen's life for 13 years. He volunteered for nine years then was hired as a paid firefighter in 2010. Recently, his story received a new chapter. He was promoted to Captain.

"I'm excited about it," Bowen said. "It's kind of full circle."

For Bowen, MCFPD is home. He even credits fire fighting with saving his life.

"Being able to serve as captain here is a big honor," Bowen said. "This is home."

The C-shift captain did not begin his firefighting career until he was 30 years old and for him, it is not just a career, it is a lifestyle.

After being a part of the MCFPD team for a few years, Bowen was hit by a car on the scene of an incident. He recalls the waiting room at the hospital that night being full of MCFPD staff, volunteers and family members. That's when he knew he was exactly where he was supposed to be.

"These are my brothers," Bowen said of his fellow firefighters.

His promotion was approved during the July 10 board meeting and was effective immediately.

Joe Brant, Fire Marshal

For Joe Brant, taking the job as Mid County's Fire Marshal was almost like coming home. In the past, he served as Mid County's Inspector. After working in Lebanon and Camdenton, Brant is now back.

"I was already familiar with it," Brant said of Mid County Protection District. "It is bigger and has more calls, more responsibility."

Brant is starting his second full week back at Mid County. He has high hopes for his position.

"I hope to continue to promote safety and consistency with code enforcement," Brant added.

Becky Howard, Administrative assistant

After living in the lake area since January, Becky Howard became one of the newest team members of Mid County Fire Protection District. Howard and her husband moved to the lake area at the beginning of the year from New Mexico.

Her experience working for a municipality worked in her favor when applying for the Mid County position.

"I love it here," Howard said. "I have a lot of support. Everyone here has been helpful. I came in not knowing anything about the district."

She and her husband have settled into the Westside of the lake and are enjoying the area so far.

Amber Bouse, Recruitment and Retention Coordinator

For Mid County, recruitment and retention is critical in maintaining the district's intern program.

Amber Bouse originally applied for the administrative assistant position but when Chief Fransden found out she had recruitment experience, he asked her if she would be interested in a different position.

The Recruitment and Rentention Coordinator position does not come out of the district's budget. The district has recieved a grant to cover those funds.

The position is flexible and works well for Bouse since she has children.

She believes in the district's intern program and is excited to be a part of the recruitment process.

"I think it is important that we have a program geared to get volunteers," Bouse said. "It is benefiting the community and therefore my community."

Interviews for six new applicants are scheduled to begin this week.

Michael Kilduff, paid firefighter

Life has changed dramatically for a former fast-food employee who moved half-way across the country to pursue a career in fire fighting. Michael Kilduff made the move from Spokane, Wash. to Lake of the Ozarks when he was accepted into the Mid County Intern program on September 11, 2012.

Almost two years later, Kilduff is now officially a paid firefighter for the Mid County Fire Protection District.

"I feel very honored. It is cool to work beside the people now that taught me everything I know," Kilduff said.

He hopes to use his experience as a former intern to help future classes of interns.

"I know what it is like coming in knowing nothing," he said. "I feel like I'm able to relate to them better."

Kilduff is literally living his dream.

"It was something I always thought was unattainable," he said. "When I got this opportunity, I did not want to pass it up."

He began his paid firefighter career on Saturaday, July 12 at 7 a.m.