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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Blazing a Trail

Jesse Marx dreamed of firefighting early on.

Jesse Marx studied communications and public relations at the University of Southern Indiana, and he uses that background while working a couple of days a week with the health care branding and marketing agency Ten Adams.

But the role allows Marx flexibility to hold another job, one he had dreamed about while growing up on Evansville’s West Side.

Ten days a month, Marx suits up for 24-hour shifts with the Evansville Fire Department’s Station 5 on West Maryland Street. A private, Marx has been with EFD for six years. He also remains involved with the volunteer-based German Township Fire Department, which he joined 12 years ago.

Unlike some other public safety officers, Marx, 31, did not grow up with that family lineage. Even so, he still was drawn to the work.

“As a super young kid, it was always cool to see the truck’s bright lights and loud sirens fly by, and wonder where they’re going,” he says.

While attending F.J. Reitz High School, Marx took public safety-themed courses at the Southern Indiana Career & Technical Center, which whetted his appetite even more for firefighting.

It was the kind of training that prepared Marx for recent challenges that have confronted the fire department, such as two enormous warehouse fires in the core of Evansville.

Blazes raged on Oct. 17, 2022, on Morton Avenue, and then on the following New Year’s Eve on North Garvin Street. Marx says both left an impression.

“I think everybody can say that was the most fire they have ever seen at one time in their career to this point,” he says. “We’re a mid-size department, but it was great to see how everybody in the depart- ment comes together for the common good. … We never leave a job halfway finished, which is pretty fulfilling at the end of the day.”

Marx says it was rewarding to save property surrounding those two massive blazes, and he takes pride in assisting individuals and families in times of great need — rescuing a valued belonging from a fire scene or offering comfort on a medical run, for example.

“There are a handful of runs every year that stick with you,” he shares, and general interactions with the public also are rewarding — things like allowing a child to sit in a fire truck.

Another enjoyable part of firefighting, Marx says, is repartee with colleagues. Laughs are abundant, as are favorite recipes (Marx is proud of his lasagna). But he also adds that “whenever it’s time to get serious, we work really well together.”

Marx also continues to enjoy working with Ten Adams two days a week when he is not at Station 5. After spending time as an account coordinator, he is now in business development, a role in which he helps hospitals and health systems shape and grow their brands.

Firefighting and Ten Adams are not the only things that occupy Marx’s time — he and his wife, Erin, are parents of 2-year-old twin girls.

“We stay busy,” he says.

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