CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) -If you watch Blue Bloods, you know Reagan family dinners are staple of the show. But, veteran Police Chief Drew Juden admits, getting his family of first responders together can be a real challenge. When I managed to pull that off recently, I asked Juden to describe his boys.
"Andrew is very outgoing, outdoorsy." Oldest son Andrew Juden serves as a firefighter in Cape Girardeau.
“Tyler, of the three boys, probably plans things out better.”
Middle son Tyler is a flight paramedic based in Poplar Bluff. "Hunter's a bouncing ball. Hunter is all over the place."
Youngest son Hunter is a K9 Officer with the Scott County Sheriff’s Office.
Three Juden sons. Three lives dedicated to keeping you safe. "It makes you proud when your sons follow in your footsteps", Juden tells me. But, how about a Juden family dinner?
“Almost impossible. Tyler and Andrew usually work 24-hour schedules. Hunter works a 12-hour schedule. It’s hard to get everyone together because again, they have to work holidays, nights and weekends.”
Juden’s sons all followed a different path to public service. Andrew always wanted to be a firefighter.
“Probably around the age of four, five”, he tells me. “Having this job gives me the ability to get out on the street and not do the same thing every day. And at the end of the day make a difference.”
Tyler thought he wanted to be an auto mechanic. After school, Drew says his middle son came home, got married, and changed directions.
“I decided I wanted to do something where I could make a difference”, Tyler tells me of becoming a first responder.
“I always had it in the back of my head that I wanted to be a police officer”, Hunter tells me. “But I tried a few other things out.”
Hunter says, he quickly figured out he wanted to enjoy work the way his dad always did.
“With this, I feel the same way I think Dad did. I don’t work. I do what I love.”
There’s a fair amount of worry when your children choose dangerous lines of work. For Drew, Andrew’s military service in Afghanistan comes to mind.
“I was a load master on a C-5 aircraft”, Andrew explains. “So, we flew a lot of missions in an out of the warzones."
“He was over there for six months”, his dad recalls. “And at that time, communications were not that great. So, you always worried where he was and what he was doing.”
Debbie Juden worries too, but knows each son is making a difference.
“You know I’ve been approached by several people that come up to me”, she tells me. And they share with me their experience of how one of them has helped them.”
With 40 years in public service, Drew Juden says he tried to protect his sons from the worst of his job.
“There was a lot of times when they were younger that I didn’t want them to know about everything that Dad was doing.”
“You know, you don’t really understand it when you’re younger”, Tyler says. “Don’t understand the dangers associated with it. But as I got older, I was definitely concerned about him a lot. Worried about him all the time.”
Wearing the name Juden on their chests, most everyone in southeast Missouri knows who Andrew, Tyler and Hunter’s dad is. But, the youngest Juden says--he might just change that.
“I’d like to make a name for myself. You know, one day I’d like people to say--oh Juden. You’re Hunter Juden? You know. One day.”