Osage Beach has had several patches over the years and as our identity changed, so did the patch. The decision to change a patch is not an easy one, and when doing this you try to ensure that while recognizing the change you don’t completely lose the former identity and tradition that brought you to this point in time.

What is the meaning behind the shoulder patches.

Patches are a commonly used outward symbol used by many organizations throughout the country. Some of the better-known groups that are identified by their patches are Military and Bikers. But this tradition is also used by most every fire department in the country. Walk into any firehouse and you will likely find a patch collection from departments around the world hanging somewhere. I can sit in my office and when I hear an individual tell the front office that they are from another department almost every time this is followed by “do you do patch trades”. So, what is with all these patches. Simply put these are our identity.

Osage Beach has had several patches over the years and as our identity changed, so did the patch. The decision to change a patch is not an easy one, and when doing this you try to ensure that while recognizing the change you don’t completely lose the former identity and tradition that brought you to this point in time. Here is what I know from stories and first-hand experience.

The first major change to the patch came shortly after the volunteer fire association disbanded due to the formation of the fire district. The stories are that Phil Hurtubise designed this new patch for the District. Phil was a long time volunteer and then at that time was the Code Official/Fire Marshal in a paid position. Some of my favorite memories of my early days in the district were having coffee with Phil before shift change. He would tell stories of the good ole days, however one of the stories I never heard from him was about the patch. The patch was round and, on the outside, read Osage Beach Fire Prot. Dist. The inside had large Phoenix with the banner “BECAUSE WE CARE”. At the time the departments mission statement was, “We Volunteer, Because We Care”

The Phoenix is often referred to in the fire service and in mythology is a bird who destroys itself by fire only to rise from the ashes. Where fire symbolizes death and destruction, the Phoenix symbolizes a new resurgence or life from these ashes.

In 2007 as the district looked at not only their mission but also their vision, we realized that our mission had changed with introduction of career firefighters since 2001. Wanting to keep true to our traditions and heritage we took the old patch and surrounded it by the Maltese Cross. In the arms of the cross we added our new mission statement, “Our Family, Protecting Your Family, Because We Care”. We then added EST. 1964 to the banner on the Phoenix to tie in our entire history. I hope over the years and changes to our patch that we respected the identity of those before us while we embraced the identity of or current structure and family.

-Chief Jeff Dorhauer