PLAINFIELD, Ind. (WISH) — The Plainfield Fire Territory has two special men on staff who are sending out a special message this Black History Month. They said a dream only stays a dream when you don’t do the work. And they said the work they do isn’t about what they look like, but who they help.
When the lights go on and the sirens blare, the firefighters at Plainfield Fire Territory in Hendricks County know it’s time to go to work.
And saving lives isn’t easy, but for a combined 40 plus years, Plainfield Fire Territory EMS Division Chief Doug Randall and firefighter Ray Evans have been doing just that.
Randall moved to Plainfield 3 1/2 years ago from St. Louis to become the territory’s first black division chief.
“Being able to set an example for people and — believe it or not — black or white, and if you want something, you go for it,” he said.
He said the paramedic teams can account for 65 to 80 percent of the fire department’s calls. So when it’s time to work, it doesn’t matter what you look like. You just focus on the work. But for some of the other people watching, looks matter.
“The title means that if there are other kids that look like me, people that aspire to do something in this field, then when they see me, then they can say, I can do that,” said Randall.
And then there’s firefighter Ray Evans. In 2002, he became the first black firefighter to join the Plainfield Fire Territory.
“I never put ‘black’ in it. I knew that being a firefighter was just my passion, has been every day since I was about 10 years old,” Evans said.
At the time he knew he was the first too, but says he doesn’t do what he does because of that. Many times, he and his team are called out on someone’s worst day. His motivation is helping others.
“This is why I’m doing what I’m doing. I’m setting the example for young kids that’s coming up behind me.”
He said whatever your goal, educate yourself, follow your heart and your dream.
In addition to Evans’ work with the fire territory, he’s also a patient support tech with the brain injury unit at the Community Rehabilitation Hospital North.