RAPID CITY, S.D. — The exhilaration of a fire engine screaming down the street and knowing they are going to help others, always left Jim Bussell wanting more.
Jim Bussell, Rapid City Fire Department Lt. Paramedic, says, “There were a lot of times I put a lot of miles on my bicycle, I would get on my bike and I would chase Engine 7 throughout the neighborhood and see where they are going and so when I was pretty young, I knew that I didn’t just want to be a firefighter, but I wanted to be a Rapid City firefighter and I really wanted to work out of this station.”
Jim wanted to make a difference and help people, like his dad who was a Rapid City Police Officer and EMT.
Jim has been in the same career field for most of his adult life, as many roles as an EMT, journeymen firefighter medic, paramedic, public information officer and now in mobile medic program.
Jim grew up in North Rapid right in the neighborhood he now works. His boyhood dream came full circle.
Jim says, “Now I get the opportunity to come to work here every single day, I get to drive to work up the hill, same hill I used to ride my bike up – come over the hill and see this station here.”
Jim finds ways outside of his career, which already works with many local organizations, to make an impact in the community – coaching a number of sports, promoting the sport of ice fishing with Cold Snap Outdoors as a pro angler and being involved in the Midwest Honor Flight as a medic.
Jim says, “One of my favorite quotes is a Jackie Robinson quote and that is ‘That a life is not important except on the impact that it has on other lives’ and I have always taken that to heart.”
Jim feels indebted to the place and people who made him who he is today, saying, “I just feel like I have a responsibility…this community has taken good care of me – this is where my family is, this is where my close friends are at.”
This is home. His roots will remain planted in the fulfillment of a life long dream. Jim adds, “God and the Fire Chief willing – hopefully this is where I’ll stay.”
He also enjoys mentoring high school students in a program designed to give students the basis of a firefighting career.