Fire Chief Mindy Andrasevits is working with several new firefighters this year, including Jacob Hankins (middle) and Joseph Willy (right).

Jacob Hankins wanted to be a firefighter to help make someone’s worst day better and make an impact in his community.

He’s one of several new volunteer firefighters who joined the Eudora Fire Department last year.

Fire Chief Mindy Andrasevits said young firefighters join the department to gain experience and get their certification before moving to bigger cities.

The department loses a handful of firefighters every year for various reasons, from moving away to struggling to find a balance. Each year, two recruitment classes are conducted. 

Joseph Willy, one of the new volunteers, said he wanted to become a firefighter due to the connection he felt toward helping others.

He said he’s proud to serve a hardworking community like Eudora and looking forward to watching the fire department grow.

After joining the department, the firefighters need to volunteer a minimum of 36 hours a month to cover calls and be at the station, Andrasevits said. 

The department consists of 30 to 40 firefighters, higher than other volunteer departments, she said.

“Proximity is a good reason,” Andrasevits said. “We’re right between many major desirable fire departments.”

Recruitment is ongoing for the Eudora Fire Department, but the recruitment academy is offered twice a year. 

Two months prior to the academy, they conduct interviews with candidates and offer positions to those who make it through. Recruitment training lasts eight weeks and is conducted Saturdays for six hours. 

Andrasevits said young firefighters tend to stay with the department due to its healthy culture and family-like atmosphere. 

“There are people who have been here for 20 years, and our average is around seven years, which is still unheard of for volunteer positions,” she said.

Hankins said he joined the department because he wanted to make an impact by being ready and able to answer calls when the community is in need of help. 

“Being a firefighter has been hard, but rewarding,” he said. 

Reach reporter Annie Gallup at

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