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.