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From AYF Student to First Responder to Life Saver

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It’s not often you see a high school junior take on responsibilities typically reserved for adults. Aaron Haux, Service Technician at RDO Equipment Co. in Kindred did, and on more than one level.

Aaron first showed his maturity when he sought out a college internship program while only a junior in high school. That same year, he also did something few people do when he signed up to be a volunteer firefighter with the local department in Kindred, ND.

Today, Aaron is a full-time Service Technician with RDO Equipment Co., a dedicated volunteer firefighter, and a recent recipient of the F-M Ambulance Service’s Citizen Lifesaving Award – remarkable achievements for someone still awaiting his 25th birthday.

From AYF to Apprentice
Never one who envisioned a desk job, Aaron knew early on he wanted a career where he could be active and work with his hands. Combined with growing up and working on a farm, equipment was in his blood from the start and became a natural path for his career.

Before he even graduated high school, Aaron wanted to best set himself up for a future in the equipment industry and pursued RDO Equipment Co.’s Access Your Future internship program.

“I walked into the Kindred store and asked about it,” he recalls. His conversations that day with Darius Schneibel, Service Manager, and Kevin Johnston, Regional General Manager, led to placement in the program while he attended North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton, ND. He enjoyed his time in the program, particularly the ability to get hands-on experience outside of the classroom and learn from his team members.

“I learned a lot from all RDO Equipment Co.’s service technicians, and Kim Olson especially was a great mentor to me,” Aaron said. “He helped me understand how to work in a dealership and what makes an exceptional service technician.”

Today, Aaron puts those skills to work full-time in the service shop, specializing in combines. He likes the opportunity to work with customers, and also enjoys his coworkers and the environment he gets to experience every day on the job. Another thing he appreciates about RDO Equipment Co. is the support of his role as a volunteer firefighter – in more ways than one.

Serving the Community
As volunteer firefighters, Aaron and his colleagues are called to respond at a moment’s notice. The Kindred Fire Department supports an 84-square-mile district on its own, and a total of 336-square-miles in partnership with three neighboring communities. Often, Aaron says the time when he’s needed most is during the day.

“For me to be available to leave work during the day to respond to an emergency, that’s so important,” he said. He credits management and his team members with giving him the flexibility to respond to those situations, saying, “RDO supports me and my coworkers are all very understanding, so I’m able to be on-call and respond when I’m needed.”

Last fall, Aaron was presented with another opportunity to help his fire department, again with the support of his employer. In partnership with the Offutt Family Foundation, RDO Equipment Co. launched a special volunteer fire department focus of its Community Builder program, an initiative that supports charitable causes in which employees are active and engaged. Aaron was given the opportunity to apply for a grant that would help his fire department – and he jumped at the chance to do so.

“We needed new vehicle technology extraction tools, including a cutter, spreader, ram, and vehicle stabilization strut,” Aaron said. He further explained the importance of the equipment, allowing the department to respond quickly to vehicle accidents where lives depended on the ability to get them out of harm’s way quickly. Thanks to the Community Builder grant, the department is moving forward purchasing this equipment it, and the community, needs.

A Life-Saving Situation
When Aaron isn’t taking care of machines at RDO Equipment Co. or volunteering with the fire department, he helps a local company with snow removal. It was during that work last December he encountered a situation that he never expected.

“We were working late one night when we came across a woman out in the snow, barely breathing,” he said. Aaron and his two coworkers acted fast, loading the woman into their pickup and calling F-M Ambulance in nearby Fargo, ND for emergency help. Aaron stayed with the woman until the ambulance arrived, keeping her comfortable, calm, and alert. F-M Ambulance credits all three men with their efforts to go above and beyond, and knows they were responsible for saving the woman’s life.

While he remains humble about the situation, saying, “We did what we thought anyone would do; what we felt was right,” Aaron’s efforts were officially recognized by F-M Ambulance on January 19, when he and his two coworkers received the Citizen Lifesaving Award.

In addition to instincts, Aaron credits his training as a first responder with knowing to act quickly, remain calm, and focus on the woman in trouble. He also believes the experience will help him in future situations where lives are at stake, situations that would be intense for anyone. But for Aaron, they’re opportunities to help others and serve his community – the reasons why he signed up to be a volunteer firefighter in the first place.

Interested in joining the RDO Equipment Co. team in your area? Learn more about career opportunities, see open positions, and find out how to apply.
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