Meet Jim Hauck, Deaf Firefighter/EMS Dispatcher

Jim Hauck, Deaf Leader

Meet Jim Hauck, Deaf Firefighter/EMS Dispatcher

In a world that can sometimes underestimate and overlook deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals, Jim Hauck’s story stands as a testament to the power of determination and the strong human spirit. His journey began with adversity and culminated in a remarkable career of service. Hauck entered the world with single-sided deafness. Society labeled him as “mentally retarded” during his early years. Despite the labels, he defied the odds to become a Deaf Firefighter, EMS Dispatcher, and a role model for countless others.

“I do my best to live by the following mottos: Always be humble and kind, and remember where you came from”, Hauck shared, his voice resonating with humility and sincerity.

Early in his life, Hauck overcame several challenges. The school system labeled him as “mentally retarded” and placed him in special education classes until the 8th grade. With the support of his grandmother, who raised him, Hauck’s grit was unwavering. “I was determined to prove myself,” he recalled. “At 16, I joined the local fire department as a junior firefighter. Now, 40 years later, I’m the president of a local volunteer fire department. I’m also an EMT, Hazmat Tech, and an ARMY Veteran.”

Becoming an EMS Dispatcher

After serving in the Army, Hauck’s deafness thwarted his aspirations of becoming a police officer. Unruffled, he pivoted to become a municipal police dispatcher. His choice set into motion a career that would span three and a half decades. “I would go on to work for 2 municipal police agencies and a county-run centralized emergency communications center for 9-1-1, police, fire, and ambulance dispatch,” he recounted. His voice carried a sense of pride as he added, “Now 35 years later, I’m a captain, and I’m retiring on August 1st after 35 years.”

Hauck’s path was full of challenges, with naysayers doubting his abilities at every turn. “The challenge I faced was being told I’ll never do or be anything. I was told I could never be a dispatcher either,” he revealed. But Hauck was not one to back down. “I learned their way and then my way. I learned to overcome and adapt.”

However, his dedication extended beyond the front lines. Hauck actively engaged in union/labor management, negotiated employee contracts, and made contributions to health and safety committees. A volunteer for the Red Cross and a member of the local American Legion, he exemplifies a commitment to the community that transcends his professional roles.

Retirement doesn’t mean slowing down

Despite his impending retirement, Hauck’s passion for service remains steadfast. “I would like to get involved with helping the deaf and hard-of-hearing community by learning about emergency services,” he shared eagerly. “Teach them first aid, bring them to a local firehouse for hands-on education, and bring them to a 9-1-1 center. Show them some of the technology that is out there to help them be independent and to be more a part of their community.”

Jim Hauck’s story showcases the remarkable strength of the human spirit in conquering challenges. Starting from humble origins as an outsider, he has emerged as a respected leader and a compassionate advocate. In a world that sometimes seems full of obstacles, Hauck’s staunch dedication reminds us that with determination, kindness, and a commitment to service, anything is possible.

And so, in the month of August, Safe’N’Clear is honored to recognize Jim Hauck.