Salute the Badge: Manhattan Fire Department driver and his new best friend

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MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) - A Manhattan Fire Department driver's job has a new meaning. That's because he gets to spend his days alongside his new best friend.
Kody Songs has the hardest-working partner on the Manhattan Fire Department.

“They can do the work that we do in half the time or less, so they are a really great asset to have.” Manhattan Fire Department, Driver, Kody Songs says.

And with four-legs to Songs’ two… Duke the K9 gets twice the attention. “Everybody loves dogs, so having him around, he’s just a great asset, and letting people see, kinda what we do and then it’s a good way to explain how well these ‘disaster dogs’ work and what their purpose is.” Songs says.

A memorable call sparked Songs’ interest in search and rescue -- and convinced the department they needed to add a recruit like Duke. “We had a student wander off from Lee Elementary, they weren’t able to locate him until later that night. It was this time of year, it was hot outside. So if we would’ve had the dog, there’s a really good chance that we would’ve been able to locate that person a lot quicker.” Songs says.

Being a firefighter was a childhood dream for Songs. His dad served as a volunteer. “Whenever I was little, the guys, you’d see them driving the trucks, you’d see them in a store, or even on call, when they’d get done, they’d always come over, talk to you, they were really great.” Songs recalls.

Songs earned an Associates Degree in Fire Science at Hutchinson Community College, then started his career at Riley County EMS. He joined the Manhattan Fire Department five years ago, eventually passing three tests to land a role as a driver:

“Learning all the streets in the city of Manhattan, there’s an oral interview, and then, also, we have hands-on, on the training, on the pad.” Songs says.

Duke joined him in the passenger seat two months ago…steering their way to a perfect partnership.

“He goes everywhere with us, he is my partner and he is my best friend.” Songs says.

Songs and Duke will be able to assist in search and rescue efforts not just in Manhattan, but around the state of Kansas.