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Giving back

Central Fire and Rescue captain has spent his life in service of the community

By Brett Auten

Doug Raines has always followed his heart.

If there is a cause, a foundation, a fundraiser, pretty much anything to better the community or an individual, he is the first to raise his hand and volunteer. 

Service is something that is ingrained in him.

Raines, 47, is a Fort Zumwalt grad who grew up in O’Fallon and lived in Wentzville, St. Charles and St. Peters.

“I haven’t lived anywhere outside the county limits,” he joked. “I have basically stayed within a 15-minute radius from where I grew up.”

His father was a fireman in both Missouri and Florida, and once he hit his early 20s, Raines started as a volunteer firefighter in 1991 with the St. Charles Fire District and became a career firefighter in 1995 with the St. Peters Fire District. He joined Central Fire and Rescue in 1998 and today is a captain with the department. His brother, Jason, was hired in May 1996 in Spanish Lake where he too is a captain of its fire department. 

Raines fondly remember tagging along with his dad on donation-giving trips he went on as a fireman and the impact they made stuck.

“I remember going with my dad when he worked with the St. Charles Fire Department and picking up couches and dropping off different things,” Raines said. “My dad guided me into compassion for people, and I share that with my kids as well.”

In 1998, Raines started an adopt-a-family gift giving Christmas program within his fire district, and it continues to be a strong community program today. He also worked with United Services during Christmas to provide families with gifts and clothing and currently works with the St. Charles City-County Library Foundation to help provide reading materials through the Little Free Library.

In 1999, Captain Raines started a county-wide Safety Seat program for installation of car seats and was the St. Charles County Safe Kids Coordinator from 2000 to 2005. He worked with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to help design car seat brochures and other documents for this administration and has traveled across the country teaching child safety seat installation courses.

In 2012, after one of his firemen was diagnosed with MS at the age of 28 and is no longer working in the fire truck, Raines raised over $20,000 for Multiple Sclerosis walking on a treadmill for 24 hours and currently assists with the MS Walk for St. Charles County.

“I never realized how much support I would get,” he said. “The amount of teams that came out and cheer me on and be part of walk made for a great environment.” 

Raines, who is married with three children, is passionate about making the community a better place. He is a member of several community boards (most recently, a member of the Disabled Athletes Sports Association board) that focus on fundraising and raising awareness on a variety of issues. 

“You could probably ask any fireman that at the beginning of their career, the one thing, why would you get into the fire service and the answer I would say 100-percent of them say is that I want to make a difference,” he said. “And I still want to make a difference, be a positive influence in someone’s life even if it’s just to say hello or smile to Bob in the grocery store. You never know what a smile can do for somebody.”

CUTLINE: Photo by Ray Rockwell Central Fire and Rescue captain Doug Raines.