AFSCME Iowa Council 61 - Every Day. Everywhere. Making Iowa Better.

Profile: Matt Andera, Mike Born, Cody Courtney, Kent Johnson, and Drew Zahasky (AFSCME Local 1068)

Pictured Left to Right: Matt Andera, Mike Born, Cody Courtney, Kent Johnson, and Drew Zahasky

BACKGROUND:

These five AFSCME members work as employees of either Howard County Secondary Roads or the City of Cresco. Matt and Kent work to keep our roads safe through their work at Howard County Secondary Roads. Drew, Mike, and Cody help keep the City of Cresco’s water, sewer, and roads departments running.

COMMUNITY ACTIVITY: CRESCO FIRE AND RESCUE DEPARTMENT

Matt, Mike, Cody, Kent, and Drew are volunteer firefighters with Cresco Fire & Rescue.

THE PALLET FIRE:

On the evening of November 14, 2011, a fire broke out at the warehouse of SMI Co., a wood pallet manufacturer in Cresco, Iowa. It was the largest fire in Cresco in recent years. The wood pallets in the warehouse caused the fire to burn very hot and intense. Firefighters, including Matt, Mike, Cody, Kent, and Drew, fought throughout the night to prevent the fire from spreading to the factory, which was located next to the warehouse. The fire was eventually extinguished, allowing production at the factory to resume the next day. The success of these firefighters likely played a role in encouraging SMI Co. (a major area employer) to remain in Cresco and expand.

WHY THEY VOLUNTEER—IN THEIR OWN WORDS:

“I became a volunteer firefighter to protect my community but also to carry on a family tradition and for the camaraderie with my fellow firefighters.” -Drew Zahasky

“I became a volunteer firefighter so I can help make my community prepared for a fire. Had it not been for the firefighters at the pallet fire our community could have lost a lot of jobs.” -Kent Johnson

“I had only recently become a volunteer firefighter when the pallet fire struck. I was especially proud to be there to protect my community on that day.” -Matt Andera

“The Fire Department is a way for me to give back my city. Since I was a kid, I’ve looked up to firemen and the way they protect our community.” -Mike Born

“I have always wanted to serve my community as a volunteer fire fighter.” -Cody Courtney

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