The father-daughter duo of Dakota City firefighters

DAKOTA CITY, Neb. (KCAU) – It’s not everyday you meet someone living a dream they’ve had since they were five years old, but that’s exactly what a Dakota City woman does after struggling against serious health problems.

Meet her and her dad working side by side in this week’s edition of Siouxland Stories.

“Someone once asked me to join the fire department, so I thought I’d give it a try. Here I am 22 years later. I still have a passion to serve my community in the fire service. I’m enjoying every minute, Clint Rasmussen said.

Clint Rasmussen has been with the Dakota City Fire Department since his daughter Emma was alive. For 12 years, he has been a chef.

The father-daughter relationship these two have isn’t the most typical.

“It’s very satisfying that Emma decided, at the age of 21, to join the Dakota City Fire Department, to follow in my footsteps,” Clint said. “It’s hard these days to get volunteers to participate in the many hours of training it takes for someone to be part of a fire department and do what we ask of them.”

“Since I was in kindergarten, they know I want to be a firefighter. They have been very supportive of me and I am lucky to have them,” said Emma Rasmussen.

This is especially true when you consider that Emma’s path to the fire station is unique.

“Emma has her own challenges in her life. She battled thyroid cancer, her hearing loss in one ear. So, you know, just the struggles and the challenges that she had in her young life. To show that she wants to take on this new challenge, to be part of the fire department, it’s gratifying to me that she’s up for the challenge,” Clint said.

“I was 12 when I found out I had thyroid cancer, at the end of 6th grade. I’ve been through a lot. It wasn’t easy. Some days are harder than others, still to this day. There’s a stage where I don’t want to do anything, just stay in bed all day, but I keep getting up and fighting those challenges,” Emma said.

Despite her own personal challenges, she joined the department and went through rigorous drills like all other volunteers.

“I had to separate dad and the fire chief, but it’s been working out really well and I’m very proud of Emma for taking on this challenge,” Clint said.

“Training was tough because I’m hard of hearing and lip-reading. Not many people can say they are hard of hearing and be part of the fire service at the same time because it is difficult,” said Emma. “I keep working hard every day, and you keep training until you succeed.”

It is a tradition that the family wishes to perpetuate.

“As a father, as a fire chief, not just for Emma but for two other daughters, it’s very satisfying to have my three daughters volunteer as much as I do,” Clint said.

“Even little girls, little kids to this day, they have to chase their dreams, what they want to do and they have to stick to it and they have to work hard. Hard work pays off,” Emma said.

Both Emma and Clint said they would also like to thank the community for supporting the fire department and voting yes for a new facility the department has been using for the past few years.