By Sherri Coner
After serving more than a decade as Bargersville fire chief, Jason Ramey got a hankering for yesterday.
On Jan. 10, 2023, Ramey traded the many responsibilities behind a fire chief’s desk for the front passenger seat of responsibility on the engine, in the role of captain.
And he wouldn’t have it any other way.
Now that he’s back in the midst of fighting fires in record-breaking cold or in scorching summer heat or freeing accident victims from vehicle wreckage, and endless other scenarios, this 22-year veteran’s goal is the same as when his career officially began.
“I genuinely enjoy making a person’s bad situation better, even if we can’t make it good. Regardless of the outcome, we can usually make it better,” he said. “You have to realize you can’t fix everything. But we have the opportunity to make things better if we do it right.”
A life of service
Doing good for others as often as you can is a mindset Ramey has known since childhood.
His parents, David and Joan Ramey, volunteered at the Nineveh Township Volunteer Fire Department.
At age 14, Ramey became a cadet at the Nineveh station.
On his 18th birthday, he left for Army basic training with an interest in pursuing law enforcement.
But some things are just meant to be.
By that time in life, fire stations were Ramey’s second home.
In 2001, he joined the Franklin Fire Department.
In 2006, he became a captain at the Bargersville Fire Department.
After being promoted to chief in March 2010, and returning to the role of captain last month, Ramey’s professional life has literally come full circle.
Change hasn’t happened only at work, though.
Ramey and his wife, Rachel, a math teacher at Indian Creek Middle School, have watched their three children grow into teenagers who require a lot less supervision these days.
Working 24-hour shifts again at the fire station means Ramey now has 48 hours off.
The Griz Cave
This resourceful, go-getter type squeezed in nine years of dedicated training in Jiu Jitsu.
Since 2021, he has co-owned Franklin Jiu Jitsu Club, which members lovingly refer to as the Griz Cave. When Ramey isn’t at the Bargersville Fire Department or at home with his family in Trafalgar, he can usually be found at this busy community hot spot for martial arts.
“Once I started training in Jiu Jitsu, I found so many mental and physical benefits that it became my main fitness and social focus,” he said.
During his career, Ramey, who is also an EMT, has delivered a couple of babies along the way. One child was born in the back of the ambulance during a snowstorm in Peoga.
The second emergency birth “happened at Bargersville’s old fire station downtown,” Ramey said.” A local woman was on her way to the hospital. She pulled into the parking lot and delivered in the parking lot.”
A chef on fire
Through the years, Ramey has honed his culinary skills.
In fact, he serves fellow firefighters a mean breakfast burrito.
His homemade chicken pot pies are also fairly famous.
“I cook often in the fire house,” Ramey said. “I enjoy it.”
Serving as fire chief provided lots of new challenges and many rewards. But after a while, Ramey found himself wanting to trade the office chair and desk.
“I wanted to be more hands on,” he said.