By Maggie Nixon
“We got our new fire engine; we’ve received a couple of grants – one for an AED, because protecting our own is very important. We have a rookie (Rob Firestone) who got us a couple of grants, and one was to paint the fire station on the inside.”
Chapman added, “We were able to get some safety equipment for our brush truck, which is really exciting, and we also got a grant for some air pack bottles from OmniSource, a local employer, worth about $5,000. To a small community, that’s a lot of money, and on top of that, we had an apartment fire over the weekend which we saved, so things like that are a really big deal.”
Chapman emphasized that the grants were a huge help for BFD. “The requirements on volunteers today are almost unbelievable. One of our firemen just went through a 10-month class just to be a volunteer, just to give more of his time. It’s harder and harder for guys to dedicate that time, so for Rob to then dedicate more time, is such a big deal. We’re at our fire station every other to every third day of the year. It can be a very thankless job, so for someone to choose to come in, who he has a family and full time job, and then go above and beyond and do things like grants, it really helps the department.”
Other department highlights include having two 10-year members (Ryan Schori and Shawn Meinert); Firestone graduating firefighter school and becoming certified, as well as securing two grants; one graduating Warsaw High School Fire Academy (Lane Stevens); grant money received from REMC ($1,000) and 811 underground funding (received by John Gomola).
“Above all, everyone came home safe!” Chapman said.