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Cody honored for 34 years with EFD

By Staff | Mar 15, 2011

Wherever the action is, you’ll find Randy Cody in the middle of it.

Owner of Randy’s Body & Wrecker, Cody often finds himself towing cars – or sometimes even pulling semis out of the ditch. He’s served as a member of the Gruver Fire Department for the past three years. And this past Saturday night, Cody was honored for 34 years of service with the Estherville Fire Department.

Cody, an Estherville native and 1968 graduate of Estherville High School, first signed on with the department in 1972. He was inspired by his father, Cliff Merrill who chalked up 20 years with the department.

“He really didn’t want me on. He said it was no gratitude with low pay,” Cody said wryly.

One never to be dissuaded by a challenge, though, Cody put his name on the waiting list and came on the department in 1974 and served until 2008.

During Cody’s tenure, he organized fundraisers for the department to raise money to buy the Jaws of Life. ?Before that, they had to resort to a come along and a port-a-ower which used air pressure to break away doors from cars at accident scenes. “It was all manual labor back then,” Cody explained.

One time he and another firefighter arrived at a fire scene and revived two cats that had suffered smoke inhalation.

“That made the kids happy,” Cody said.

He remembers vividly the Welding Supply fire south of Jane’s Place where tanks exploded and the brick building with tar roof virtually became a chimney. “With those bottles exploding, they were flying all over,” Cody said.

And then there was the time he helped pull a dresser – later found to be filled with bullets – from a house.

Noting big improvements in equipment and training, Cody sees more professional departments around the country which can be a mixed blessing for smaller departments.

“There’s getting to be more and more training that hurts the smaller departments that can’t afford it.”

With nearly 40 years on the line fighting fires, Cody finds it was all worth it.

“To me it was interesting and knowing I was helping somebody out,” Cody said.

Cody said the main thing needed by someone thinking of joining a fire department is dedication.

“It’s something you have to want to do,” Cody said.

And then there’s the camaraderie in the knowledge that you’re in it to help others. – maybe the biggest reason of all that firefighters sign up.

“As long as I can help people out, that’s all I care about,” Cody said.