Lake Ozark firefighter Brandon Pharr loves helping people.

Lake Ozark firefighter Brandon Pharr loves helping people.

It is why he decided to pursue a career as a firefighter at the age of 16 and 16 years later, that desire has remain unchanged as he continually strives to make even more of a difference each day. He began as a junior firefighter in high school, went on to become a paramedic and has been at it ever since.

“It really is just about service to the people. We are expected to be at our highest level of service when people are having their worst day,” Pharr explained. “When I was a kid growing up I just always wanted to help people and I learned as a sophomore in high school that this seemed to be the path I wanted to take.

“I’ve seen a lot in the 16 years I’ve been doing this, but each call and each shift you learn something new and how to better yourself so you can be better for the people.”

Now, he is looking to help even more people as a coordinator and competitor in the upcoming Can-Am Games, a non-profit event which will run June 25 through July 1 with proceeds benefitting the Special Olympics of Missouri. Law enforcement, firefighters, emergency medical services and protective services personnel from all over the United States and Canada will gather for six days to compete in various competitions. The first games were held in 1977 and now the Lake will play host for 2018 and 2020.

“Chief (Mark) Amsinger at Lake Ozark and Chief (Jeff) Dorhauer at Osage Beach worked really hard at getting the Can-Am Federation to come and check out Lake of the Ozarks. We get to hold these big events and it is not only going to benefit the community with revenue, but most importantly the people with Special Olympics of Missouri,” Pharr said.

“Obviously we want to be a good host so we put our minds together and worked together as a team to really get these events to be what hopefully people will enjoy very much.”

It is also an opportunity for first responders to bond for those six days and help each other improve in their professions as well.

“Firefighters always like getting together, meeting with each there and learning new things or what we call tricks of the trade,” the Lake Ozark firefighter said of his own profession. “This event is just another Eason for us to get together and do that. We get a little competitive and that is just our nature, but we are going to go out there and have fun with everyone coming in to the Lake area.”

Pharr has been with the Lake Ozark Fire Protection District for about six years after being hired in 2012. Originally from the St. Louis area, the Lake was practically a second home as he would come down with his family in the summers and the firefighter said it was always a destination for him. During his time at the Lake, the dedication to help others has only elevated.

“Our training division is one of the best I’ve ever seen in the different departments I’ve worked for. Through these six years, we’ve been growing as a department and we’ve had an increase in calls, but we continue to try to strive to increase our service,” he noted. “We are not just firefighters or paramedics, but hazmat technicians, swift water flood rescue technicians, confined space technicians and rope rescue technicians because any of those can happen here at Lake of the Ozarks… We come to work and learn something new every day.”

And now those firefighters will be helping each other train for various competitions. Pharr will be representing the Lake Ozark Fire Protection District in the crossfire competition.

“Every ay here at Lake Ozark we train or work out every day for at least an hour. I guess my workouts over the last few months have been a little more intense because I wanted to be a little bit more ready than what I may have been six months ago,” Pharr noted with a smile.

Pharr will also be busy coordinating softball games that will feature about 100 players on seven teams at Osage Beach City Park. As someone who helped run the Kilts and Cleats Softball Tournament around the Lake for the past five years, an event that raises money for an individual or group in the community and the local firefighter union, he did not hesitate to sign up.

“When they asked people to coordinate these events that was very easy for me because I’ve done it before and played it before. It just kind of becomes second nature and it is a matter of wrangling everyone in and trying to get people to come and play,” Pharr remarked. “We have nice fields over at Osage Beach City Park and I cannot wait.”

He is also looking forward to the opportunity of representing his department and the Lake area in general.

“Every day we try to hold ourselves to the highest standards we can and I think the guys enjoy being able to get out there in the community like this,”Pharr said. “We go to the schools all the time, read to the kids and give them fire safety talks. It is really cool when we get out in public with these kind of events, or even if we just go to the store and people see us, they recognize us as Lake Ozark firefighters and we enjoy that because we want people to know we are always there.”

Whatever happens, Pharr just wants people to remember what these games at the Lake are all about.

“Any time or money people put into this event or just watching if they want to, anything like that is going to the Special Olympics of Missouri and they are going to benefit in a big way. We want people to come out and enjoy it and these six days are going to be fun-filled and packed with different social events,” Pharr noted. “We have a lot of different things going on throughout the week so you won’t have a bad time if you come out.”