SENECA, Mo. — A Godly relationship has always been important to Colorado native, Ty Dawson. His father was a church pastor, and instilled in Dawson the importance of faith, family and God, at a young age.

A love for God would send Dawson on the path of service, while continuing to live in southwest Colorado, where he met the love of his life, Julie. Newly married, Dawson was able to spread his faith as a pastor for different churches in his home state.

After several years, many opportunities in church ministry brought Ty and Julie to southwest Missouri. Dawson says both him and his wife quickly fell in love with the area, so they settled down and bought a home in Seneca where the couple would welcome their first child; a boy they named Hayes.

“My Dad had been the pastor in this area and we just knew the people and really enjoyed what the area was like and what Southwest Missouri had to offer, so we decided that we wanted to stay right here,” said Dawson.

Seneca Bethel Baptist Church was where the Dawsons quickly found their “second home.” After attending the church with his family for several years, Ty was voted as Senior Pastor for Seneca Bethel Baptist in 2012, preaching to the small congregation of fifty.

“It was my conviction to establish and stay in one location long enough to see families grow, kids grow and then graduate and start their lives. Finding an ideal place to settle into, like here in Southwest Missouri, especially the Seneca area, was just something that was important to us,” said Dawson.

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While answering his spiritual calling as a senior church pastor, Dawson said he felt he could do even more to serve others, by becoming a firefighter. As a young man, Dawson had an interest in firefighting, but as he grew older, he began to wonder what it would be like to save lives, not just spiritually, but physically.

“I think growing up, every kid wants to go get in that fire truck and one day do what those brave men and women do each day.”

In 2019, Dawson enrolled in firefighter training, which landed him a second career as Engineer for the Redings Mill Fire Protection District in Newton County.

“Firefighting is a lot of ministry. You get to help people. So for me, firefighting and working for the fire department, we get to show up and help folks when they’re having the worst day of their life. When we get to go and help them and provide our services, we get to see property saved and lives saved, and so being a pastor and being a firefighter just fits hand-in-hand,” said Dawson.

Photo courtesy: Billy Wade Photography

Dawson says there’s no other fire department he would rather be a part of, than the one that serves the Redings Mill area.

“There’s not one person that I work with, on any shift, at either fire station located in the Redings Mill Fire Protection District, that I don’t enjoy working with. Every person there is incredible and I love that all of us get to work together and serve our fire protection district as a team. We all mesh well and I really like that,” said Dawson.

Photo courtesy: Billy Wade Photography

Dawson continues to dedicate his life to service, both as a pastor and as a full-time firefighter, allowing him to take the message of love, and spread that message through his career as a firefighter, where love is often what’s needed, following a devastating fire.

“I definitely don’t try to overstep or be intrusive in a situation where someone has been affected by a fire, but when someone’s needing a level of comfort, I just absolutely can’t help but want to either encourage or be someone who can supply that encouragement to someone who’s life has been drastically changed by fire.”

There are many who believe in the saying, “all things happen for a reason,” and one of those believers is Ty Dawson.

“I believe that my role as a husband, a father, a pastor and a firefighter is 100% a God thing. I believe 100% that this was the direction that God wanted me to go in.”