Dylan McMaine didn't set out to be a firefighter, but it's the job he's grateful for after landing a position with the Richmond Fire Department in 2014.
Growing up just outside of Richmond in Bybee, McMaine went to Madison Central High School, where he played football and baseball. He then went to Eastern Kentucky University, where he majored in homeland security.
"It was just something I found interesting at the time," McMaine said.
After graduating, he worked for a construction company, and his job included a lot of travel up and down the east coast.
"I sort of wanted something back home," he said.
So he quit that job for a factory position that didn't involve traveling, and he was working third shift when he learned RFD was hiring.
"The more I thought about it … I got really excited at the opportunity," he said.
So he put in an application, took a couple of written tests, did a physical test and landed an interview.
He said he was lucky to then be offered the position, and on March 2014, he started working as a firefighter.
"It's something I'm very grateful for," he said. "I've loved it from day one. The very first time we started hands-on training, I knew I made the right decision."
McMaine explained he was excited to have a position in which he can help people and serve the community.
"Richmond had been very good to me growing up, and to have an opportunity to give something back to the community, I felt very blessed and thankful," he said.
When it comes to his work, McMaine said, there are many things he enjoys about it.
"I love the fact that we get to help people, that's our main goal. It could be that someone's house is on fire, or it could be someone's been in an injury accident," he said. "Sometimes it's as simple as somebody fell, and it may be a lift assistance."
He also explained no two days, or even two runs, are the same.
"Having that unknown with our next run is very exciting, and it keeps you on your toes," he said.
And in 2018, McMaine was promoted to captain, where he oversees Engine 3 and three firefighters.
He said he chose to accept the promotion because he doesn't want to become stagnant.
"I feel like it's important to … always strive to better yourself and better your department," he said.
He enjoys being in a leadership role, as well, because then he can "hopefully make Richmond the best department it can be."
Though being a firefighter means McMaine has missed Christmas, Thanksgiving and birthdays, he said his family is on board with his career.
His family is used to making arrangements for holidays, as his wife is a nurse. Additionally, he has two kids: Abigail who is 4 and Luke who is 20 months.
"They are a big motivator for me to lead by example of helping others and serving my community," he said.
"I think it's the best job in the world," he said. "We go to work every day. We put our lives on the line if the situation calls for it. … The people I work with have become some of my closest friends. It's a very rewarding job."
But more than the job itself, McMaine is passionate about RFD and Richmond, specifically.
"I never wanted to work anywhere else," he said. "I've never applied at another fire department. I'm from this area. This is where I want to be.
"This is my department. This is my city."
EDITOR'S NOTE: Behind the Badge is a series published once a month in The Register to highlight first responders and those in any related field in Madison County. Know someone who has a good story to share? Email details to firstname.lastname@example.org.