NAME: Rudolf “Rudy” Shoats
BIRTHPLACE: West Germany
OCCUPATION: Full-time, contract firefighter with the Zachary Fire Department, part-time firefighter with the West Feliciana Fire District and volunteer with the St. Francisville Fire Department.
FAMILY: “My mom was 100 percent German. She met my dad, who was in Vietnam, and they had me. She later remarried a man in the Air Force, my stepfather, who raised me,” Shoats said.
Shoats is the father of four girls: Lauren, 16, Brenna, 14, Elizabeth, 9, and Aaron, 3.
What’s your background?
Shoats joined the U.S. Navy at 18 and was placed with the VR-54 squadron stationed in Belle Chasse. VR-54 operates Lockheed C-130 aircraft, and Shoats was a load master on the C-130s, a cargo-type plane.
He completed 12 years active duty and served nine as a Reserve. Upon retiring from the Navy in 2009, Shoats was hired part time with the Harvey Fire Department.
What’s your favorite military movie? “We Were Soldiers” with Mel Gibson.
What’s the scariest situation you’ve ever been in as a firefighter?
“I don’t know, I can’t really recall a scariest moment, but being caught in a backdraft is always intense.”
Do you have time to enjoy any hobbies?
“Yes, believe it or not. I work on vehicles. I’m emergency vehicle technician certified to work on emergency apparatus vehicles, but I’m just missing my electrical certification.”
What do you do to relax?
“I fish, hunt and read.”
What do you read? Who are your favorite authors?
“I like thrillers and read a lot of Stephen King, Clive Russell and some Dean Koontz.”
If you could be any profession other than a firefighter, what it would be?
“Nothing. This is what I’ve always done, and I can’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing than fighting fires.”
Final comments: “I love fire service work,” Shoats said. “It is my pleasure to serve the residents of Zachary. This profession is a calling, not a choice.”
Shoats added that he loves firefighting as much as he loved serving in the military.