The Fireman

Who is that behind that firefighter’s mask?

Ah! It’s my hubby, Harland!

In his spare time, when he’s not being a farmer or photographer, Harland is a volunteer fireman. (That’s him below in the yellow helmet)

The small rural towns in our area can’t afford to pay for fire departments, so they have volunteer fire services. Our local town’s fire service was founded sometime in the 1920s when the town installed a water tower and water lines. Harland joined about 20 years ago, and today is the assistant fire chief. There are about 20 volunteers in his department, and each year they are called out to about 25 fires, mostly grass fires, auto accidents or structure fires.

A couple weeks ago, I watched as members of all the local fire departments participated in firefighting training exercises.

The University of Kansas Fire & Rescue Training Institute provided burn scenarios for the guys so everyone could enhance their firefighting skills.

Volunteer fire departments obtain their equipment and trucks through grants and fundraising. Every department has at least one big annual fundraiser. Each February, Harland’s department hosts a “Pancake Feed” where the firefighters do all the cooking and serving. For a “free-will donation”, you can enjoy a hearty country breakfast of sausage, eggs, and pancakes.

A few years ago, they needed a new fire station. The cost of building materials was covered by the state of Kansas with the stipulation that the construction was done by volunteers.

So the firefighters and local residents provided the labor and built the station themselves.

 I’m proud of our volunteer firefighters for all the work they do and the sacrifices they make to protect our community.

And I’m especially proud of this fireman.

Thank you, honey.



Cattle, corn, wheat, beans, mud, snow, ice, and drought. Plenty of fresh air and quiet. Our life is sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes joyous, but never boring.

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19 Responses

  1. Teresa says:

    We have one of those volunteer fire departments too. They are great to have around!

  2. Laura says:

    they provide such a valuable service to small communities…it’s that “can do” spirit that makes small towns great. Thank you to all the volunteer firemen/women out there!!

  3. Glenda says:

    Kudos to all the volunteer firemen who donate their time and energy to provide a vital service to their communities.
    Washington D.C. could learn a few things from these guys!

  4. Alica says:

    We have volunteer fire departments here too, except for in the city, and we couldn’t do without them! Thanks to all of them for their hard work and dedication!

  5. Kara says:

    Harland really is a rockstar isn’t he? Great post, love the pictures.

  6. Small communities just taking care of each other. The way it should be. Dramatic photos. Were you close enough to feel the heat or zoooomed in??

    • Suzanne says:

      I zoomed in as much as possible, but sometimes I felt the heat anyway. The guys were getting really hot though in their fire gear, but were drinking a lot in between to stay hydrated.

  7. Dianna says:

    Our community also has a volunteer fire department and EMS (with a few paid members to supplement). It’s a dangerous job, and we owe all of them a debt of gratitude.
    I’m sure the people of the commmunity are so thankful for folks like your Harland.

  8. Louise S says:

    Who knew about all the background of volunteer fire departments! Very interesting information, Suzanne, and thanks to all the guys who take care of your community. They ROCK!

  9. Doe in Mi says:

    What a great story with some wonderful facts included that most folks don’t know. Thanks.

  10. These are some really great photos Suzanne! I love the color…so brilliant! How awesome that Harland is a firefighter! He is a awesome! I will bet the man is always busy.

    • Suzanne says:

      Pretty Much he’s busy all the time either farming or photography or the fire dept. That’s why when he does get some down time, we hit the road to get away.
      Thanks Bonnie.

  11. Debbie says:

    Great pics! And interesting info on the volunteer fire departments and how they get their equipment, buildings, etc.

    I’ve always admired firefighters willingness to fight fires and rescue people, but to also do this as a volunteer is amazing!
    Way to go Harland!

  12. Mechelle says:

    Years and years ago, when I was a little girl *40 now*, my dad was a volunteer fireman/rescue personnel for a small Mississippi Delta town. So all I can say is thank you to your Harland. And bless you because I know some of what you go through each and every time he gets that call.

  13. Tina says:

    Great pictures and what a handsome firefighter he makes! I know you are proud and Thank you to all the Rural Volunteer Fire Departments for all the hard work they do.

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