Community rallies around Volunteer Fire Chief after cancer diagnosis

Waverly’s Volunteer Fire Chief has made public service a big part of his life. His community is...
Waverly’s Volunteer Fire Chief has made public service a big part of his life. His community is now helping him after an unexpected health diagnosis.(Kierstin Foote)
Published: Sep. 22, 2022 at 8:57 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 23, 2022 at 8:15 AM CDT
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WAVERLY, Neb. (KOLN) - Leading the volunteer fire department in Waverly has made public service a part of his life and Jared Rains has become accustomed to helping people in their time of need. They’re now answering the call for him after an unexpected health diagnosis.

At the age of 41, Rains, the Volunteer Fire Chief, was surprised to find out he had prostate cancer. Despite the diagnosis, he isn’t slowing down.

“I’m trying to keep things normal here, keep things normal in my normal job,” Rains said. “Family life, just be around and be present.”

On top of his duties in Waverly, he also works for the Nebraska State Patrol in a supervisor role, overseeing the installation of outfitting cruisers with radios and cameras.

“In a little over a month’s time span, I went from getting that first call that I had cancer to having my prostate removed and now we’re just in the healing process,” he explained.

Rains underwent surgery on September 1st and there’s the possibility he might need radiation. He took about a week off, still answering emails and phone calls, but he’s back to work at NSP and as the fire chief. He’s been somewhat limited in that role due to lifting restrictions.

“I haven’t been able to come on calls which has been kind of tough especially since I still get the call on my phone so I immediately flip over so I can hear what’s going on, try to be a part of it that way,” Rains said.

But he can still go to the fire station which, to him, is like a form of therapy.

“I’ve been able to detach, come down here, focus on the department, keep things going.”

He’s been the chief for about two and a half years and the department loves having him back in the station.

“I’ve known Jared for 10 years,” said Robin Hoffman, a friend, and another fire fighter. “He’s a great family man, a great chief, and he’s a good person. Always approachable.”

One of Rains’ fellow fire fighters started a GoFundMe to help with the cost of any further treatment and time taken off work.

“Just to see the people of the community that are on there that have donated, they don’t have to, but it’s nice to know there’s that support,” Rains noted. “It’s been really nice, uplifting, makes it easier for my family.”

Rains said his cancer was discovered at a routine physical and he stressed the importance of getting regular prostate exams.