Nevada Director of Fire and EMS Ray Reynolds is thrilled that many volunteers are joining the Nevada Fire and EMS services. As Valentine’s Day rolls around this coming week, Reynolds said there are several couples within the fire department that will be celebrating together. Featured here are three of those couples, the Topes, the Stenslands and soon to be married, Nathan Crozier and Madison Rice.

Also serving on the force, but not featured, are Brad and Jessica Tendall.

And when looking at relationships, there are other family connections on the department: Chris Melton and his brother Brad Melton; Zach Stensland is the son of Jeff and Kristie; Katie Harrington is a cousin to Chris and Brad Melton; and Jamie Tendall is a brother to Brad Tendall.

Nate Crozier and Madison Rice, both 21, and engaged

Where are you each from?

Nate: Granger

Madison: Grimes

What brought you to Nevada?

Nate wanted to be part of a volunteer fire department, just like his dad was when Nate was younger. He checked some departments out in the area and after meeting with Ray, Nevada seemed like the right place for us.

What is your occupation?

Nate: Army National Guard unmanned aerial vehicle operator and 3M

Madison: Work for McFarland Clinic as a medical assistant

When did you join the Fire Department/EMS?

Nate: March 2015

Madison: October 2015

Why did you join the Fire Department/EMS?

Nate: It’s something that I have always wanted to be a part of, being able to help the community

Madison: Being in the medical field, EMS really interested me and along the way, I started to get into the fire aspect as well.

How did you two meet?

We met through mutual friends in Ames

What advantage is there to serving in Nevada in public safety with your significant other?

We are able to share the excitement and the hardships that go into serving the community.

What do you love most about each other in general?

Nate: Our shared interests

Madison: He can always make me laugh, even when I am in the worst mood.

When and where is the wedding?

Oct. 22, 2016, in Perry

Kristie and Jeff Stensland

How long have you been married?

28 years

How long have you lived at Nevada?

Kristie: All of my life, I was actually born at the Story County Hospital.

Jeff: I have been in the Nevada area all of my life.

Who joined the Fire Department/EMS first and when was that? And why did you join?

Jeff: I joined in November of 1987. I felt it was one of the best ways I could give back to my community.

When did the other of you join? And why?

Kristie: I joined in March of 2004. I was an advanced CNA, and enjoyed the medical field. I decided to get my EMT certification and become a First Responder to join the department. I was always a very involved and active wife, and helped out whenever and however I was able to.

What’s the biggest challenge in being on a department like this with your spouse?

Kristie: When the children were younger, it was hard to juggle the schedules. I would have to say the biggest challenge for me now is helping/supporting Jeff through some of the challenges he faces being in an assistant chief position and carrying extra responsibilities.

Jeff: When our children were younger, it was a challenge trying to balance the schedule with both of us responding to calls or training the same night.

What’s the biggest advantage of being on the department with your spouse?

Jeff: Being able to share the challenges and triumphs we face in the emergency services together.

Kristie: I agree with Jeff, sharing the things we face in the emergency services and being able to support one another.

What have you loved most about serving this community together over the years?

Jeff and Kristie: Being able to help people in their darkest hour.

Any special Valentine’s Day plans?

Jeff: Relax and spend an evening together.

Kristie: Nothing that I know of.. maybe a quiet evening at home. But, we did get engaged on Valentine’s Day in 1987!

Dean and Tracy Tope

How long have you been married? Almost 31 wonderful years. Dated for seven years prior. High school sweethearts. She went to Nevada, I went to Ames.

How long have you lived at Nevada? Dean: 30 years, Tracy: 49 years

Who joined the Fire Department/EMS first and when was that? And why did you join?

Dean: I joined first, in December of 1995. I’ve been a firefighter and a member for 20 years. I’ve been an EMT for 16 years. I was encouraged by a Nevada firefighter/friend Mike "Couch" Davenport to join. I attended several trainings and thought that this would be fun and a way to give back to the community.

Tracy: I joined the Department as an EMT in 1998 and have been on the FD for 16 years. I was encouraged to join by Fred Malven, an assistant EMS chief with Nevada. I helped on a medical call at the fairgrounds during Lincoln Highway Days and remained calm and poised under pressure when directed by EMS personnel. I also joined to keep an eye on Dean!

What’s the biggest challenge in being on a department like this with your spouse? Dean: As Tracy’s assistant EMS chief ( her boss, so to speak), there are times I’m the EMS chief and not her husband. Giving her orders on scene and at the fire station. If that makes sense.

What’s the biggest advantage of being on the department with your spouse?

Dean: As volunteers in Nevada, we train a lot, go on many calls throughout the year. Lots of fire department functions (parade, hog roasts, pancake breakfasts, open house, etc. ) While I’m away from home a lot, we are still together because we BOTH were there together. It’s quality time at home and at the FD.

What have you loved most about serving this community together over the years?

Dean: We are proud to serve our community in its times of need. And since we both are on the FD, we can do it together. We have many memories and experiences that we are able to share with each other because we both are on the department. The fire department has been a special part of our lives.

Any special Valentine’s Day plans?

Feb. 13, the day before, we will be attending the Winter Blues Festival in Des Moines at the Marriott. The festival is where we will see and hear numerous blues acts perform. We look forward to this every year.