Ryan Tusing: Lieutenant feels at home serving a small community in the big city at the Beech Grove Fire Dept.
Ryan Tusing said being a firefighter is a gratifying profession, as they’re constantly helping others in their time of need. Getting to know the people, in and out of the firehouse, is what he says he enjoys most.
“You definitely have to be a people person in this career, not be afraid to talk to people, meet new people and help them in their crisis,” he said.
Ryan grew up in Culver, Ind. After graduating from Ball State University, he and his wife, Allison, moved to Indianapolis. They reside in Franklin Township with their children, Evan, Justin and Bradley.
He came to the Beech Grove Fire Department in February 1996. He spent eight years serving between the ambulance and the back of the engine, eight years as an engineer, and the past four years as a lieutenant.
“When I moved here from my small town of 1,500 people, I thought I was moving to the ‘big city’ of Beech Grove,” he said. “When you’re working fire and EMS in a small town, you know everybody. You’re taking care of sick people that you know; I didn’t want to do that. I moved to Beech Grove and thought I’d never know anyone I’m taking care of. After being on 20 years, Beech Grove is a nice, small community in the big city. You do get to know people. I do miss the small town and Beech Grove kind of fills that void. It’s amazing the people you get to know in 20 years, and build relationships with.”
What was your inspiration to become a firefighter?
It’s every kid’s dream. Growing up in a small town in Northern Indiana, when there was a fire, the fire whistle would go off. I used to ride my bicycle to the fire station to watch the firemen get into their gear and go on the fire runs. I’d sit in the dispatch room and listen to the radio traffic while a firefighter would be talking to the firemen and would explain things to me. I was fascinated with it.
What has been one of your most gratifying moments on the job?
The thought of helping someone, or seeing the look on a kid’s face when they see the fire station. When parents see us they’ll point out to their kids, ‘there’s a fireman.’ They’re always waving at us. It’s neat that so many people look up to us.
What aspect of the job do you find most challenging?
Being an officer, it’s some of the day-to-day stuff. The runs can be stressful and challenging. But dealing with your crew, it’s like a family. You’re with these other people and dealing with their good and bad days and trying to make sure everyone’s getting along and getting things done.
What do you enjoy doing in your off-time?
I have three boys – 17, 15 and 11. We are busy spending time with my kids, taking them to soccer games and doing all that fun parent stuff. I also like doing genealogy, but don’t have time for that.
What are your future goals, professionally or personally?
To continue to improve myself as an officer and firefighter. To stay as healthy as possible, to retire a healthy individual and enjoy my retirement.
What would you have done if you hadn’t become a firefighter?
Be a paramedic at some ambulance service.