Assistant fire chief named 2021 city employee of the year

By George Slaughter, News Editor
Posted 3/17/22

For Katy Assistant Fire Chief Dana Massey, being a firefighter is an all-in-the-family deal.

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Assistant fire chief named 2021 city employee of the year

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For Katy Assistant Fire Chief Dana Massey, being a firefighter is an all-in-the-family deal.

Massey grew up in East Houston, where her father, C.L. Massey, was a Houston firefighter. Today he is retired from that job. She also has two uncles who are firefighters and a brother who served as a firefighter for a period.

“From about age 12 on, I knew that’s what I was going to do,” Massey, who on March 9 was selected as the 2021 Katy city employee of the year, said.

EMS technicians and firefighters are in the business of saving lives, but when asked to recount some of her more memorable firefighting experiences, Massey hesitated. Not all cases have positive outcomes, she said, and she doesn’t like talking about those times.

“We try to save lives, so that’s what keeps us coming back, the positive impact in people’s lives,” Massey said. “Otherwise, it would be all negative and nobody would want to do the job.”

And there are positive cases, when lives get saved and things turn out OK.

“People showing up at the station and walking and talking, it makes you feel good,” Massey said.

Massey will celebrate her 23rd year with the department in October. The city’s fire department has undergone considerable changes over the years as Massey worked her way up the ranks.

Massey became an assistant chief about five years ago. In that role, she has responsibility for EMS and firefighter training. She is also the department’s infection control officer.

“Getting them trained, keeping them here, that’s something I’m over,” Massey said.

Fire Chief Kenneth Parker said looking for good personnel is an important part of Massey’s job, given that communities are actively looking for first responders.

“More people trying to hire than ever before,” Parker said. “We’ve got a smaller department, more tight-knit.”

Parker praised Massey’s work ethic.

“She’s the complete package,” Parker said. “She goes above and beyond in everything she does.”

Mayor Bill Hastings said he has known Massey for close to 20 years, said she was one of his precepts, or teachers, when he took paramedic training.

“You couldn’t have a finer person to work and train with,” Hastings said. “She’s given 1,000 hours of her free time to the City of Katy. She’s a wonderful young lady.”

Massey said mental health is the biggest challenge when it comes to helping firefighters be at their best in a stressful profession.

“It’s the thing that all the fire departments are talking about, keeping people’s mental health headed in a positive direction,” Massey said. “We created a peer support team to assist in helping with firefighters’ mental health. We have a group now that can assist them. We also have a therapist, Tania Glenn, who is on standby and can help as needed.”

Massey graduated from Galena Park High School. She did her fire training at the College of the Mainland in Texas City and her paramedic training at San Jacinto College.

She began her career in Galena Park. She then worked with the Baytown Fire Department when a colleague encouraged her to apply with the Katy Fire Department.

“He said Katy was going to hire full-time medics, and I should apply,” Massey said, adding that she did not do so at first. When her colleague learned of her hesitation, he encouraged her again.

She applied, and saw that it was an opportunity she could not turn down.

“I knew the growth was going to blow up out there, and it was an opportunity for my own growth as well,” Massey said.

Story has been updated to reflect comments from Mayor Bill Hastings and Fire Chief Kenneth Parker.

City of Katy, Katy Fire Department, employee of the year

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