Posted By admin on August 28, 2009
Name: Galen Barrett
Tell us about your family: I have been married for 17 years and have two children; an 11 year-old daughter and a 7 year-old son.
What is your hometown? My family and I live in Crescent, Iowa.
Where are you employed? What is your title? I am employed by the city of Council Bluffs, as the Chief Animal Control Officer.
Tell us a little bit about your professional achievements? My number one professional achievement was obtaining my bachelor’s degree in Fisheries/Wildlife Biology from Iowa State University. Without that degree, I don’t believe that my professional life would have been possible. I must say that being hired by the City of Council Bluffs for my current position would be another achievement. It was an honor to accept the Chief Animal Control Officer’s position. I would also include being elected to the Board of Directors for the National Animal Control Association.
What volunteer efforts are you involved with? I am the Fire Chief and EMT-I for the Crescent Volunteer Fire Department. As a volunteer Firefighter, I have had the opportunity to obtain certification as a Firefighter 2, EMT-Intermediate, Fire Service Instructor 2, Rope Rescue Technician Instructor, Pipeline Emergencies Instructor, Incident Safety Officer Instructor, Health and Safety Officer Instructor, and Emergency Medical Services Instructor. I have had the opportunity to teach for the Iowa Fire Service Training Bureau and Iowa Western Community College.
I am also on the Board of Directors for the National Animal Control Association (NACA). The National Animal Control Association promotes professionalism in the animal protection care and humane law enforcement field by providing quality services, education, training, and support. I also hold a seat for NACA on the National Animal Rescue and Sheltering Coalition.
Why do you volunteer? It feels good to help someone. I especially enjoy the ability to help or educate a child through volunteering. Much of the desire to help others was instilled in me through my childhood. To this day my parents still advocate helping others when you are able to. It is my goal to pass that mindset on to my own children.
How do you balance your professional career and personal life? There can be a fine line at times. I am sure that I have crossed the line and taken time away from my family due to meetings after hours or out of town. I have started taking a few extra vacation days during the summer to spend a little more time with my family.
What is your favorite pastime/hobby? I enjoy fishing with my kids, even though they seem to catch the big ones. I also enjoy photography.
What about your job keeps you motivated? Each and every day is different. One day, I may be doing paperwork. Another day, I may be on the street patrolling for stray dogs. The next day I may be executing a search warrant. Then I may find myself working with an injured deer after it is struck by a vehicle. Then there are the days that I get to do all of these things in a single day.
What advice would you give to someone interested in your specific career? Volunteer at your local animal shelter or humane society. Contact your local animal control division to see if they offer ride-alongs with the Animal Control Officers. Get your education; at least a high school diploma. Research what this job entails. If you come into this field thinking you will be petting dogs and cats for a living; brace yourself for a huge reality check. There is so much more to it than that.
What is the most interesting lesson you have learned in your career? Never assume that you have seen it all, or know it all. Every day is a learning experience.
Who has been a key mentor in the workplace or life for you and how did they help you? I would have to point my finger at my dad. While growing up, he would allow me to try just about anything (within reason). If I failed, it was a learning experience. If I succeeded, it was job well done. He was not, and still is not critical of me. I was aware of when I did wrong just by the look on his face. There was no need to raise his voice or hand. Some time back, he actually admitted I turned out ok. That is exactly why I am raising my kids with the same morals.
What is your favorite adage or words of wisdom (include author if possible)? If Columbus had turned back, no one would have blamed him. Of course, no one would have remembered him either. – Source Unknown
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? Treat other people the way you would want to be treated.
What is the one goal that you would most like to accomplish? I would like to start a volunteer cadre of individuals to assist with operations at the Council Bluffs Animal Shelter.
What do you enjoy most about working in the Council Bluffs community? Council Bluffs has become the home for people from many different backgrounds and ethnicity. I find it interesting to meet those individuals. Typically when I have the opportunity to meet new people, it turns into an educational opportunity regarding animal control. During that process I will usually learn something from them.
How long have you been a part of the Council Bluffs community? 10 years
If you could describe Council Bluffs in just 3 words, what would they be? Growing, Opportunity, Progressive