Written by Chris Dschaak, WPVFD
2013 celebrates 100 years of the organized fire department in Wolf Point. The tradition of the Firemen’s Ball started back then and continues to this day as the main fundraiser for the Wolf Point Volunteer Fire Department. It is not only important to reminisce about the past, but to also express what has been learned over the past 100 years of tradition and see what has been carried on by current department members.
Some of us are “newbies” and some of us are seasoned, but we are all firefighters. We have made lifetime friends. We have all ventured into the flames, side by side, relying on the skills handed down from our predecessors. We have laughed together. We have shared heartache together. We have learned from the past that we can’t save everything, but that we can comfort people suffering from loss. We have learned that a great day is when everyone comes home, everything else can be replaced.
We have learned to wear our armor with pride. We constantly maintain our fleet of vehicles that allow us to fight fires or extricate people from accidents. We wear our Nomex, lined bunker gear, steel-toed boots, helmets and don our air packs that allow us to venture into smoke- and fire-filled buildings to rescue and extinguish fires. With this, we have learned that our safety is important and constant upgrading of equipment needs to be made to ensure it continues.
We have learned training is vital to the success of every call we receive. We train together. We train in the actual environments. Our burn trailer allows us to watch how fire acts. It shows us the heat associated with the fire and just how much our gear can and can’t protect us. It shows us how water can be our biggest friend. We train so we know what to do and how to react to any incident for which we are paged out. We also train for your and our safety. We train to react and to make any emergency situation better.
We have learned the dedication it takes to be a volunteer firefighter. We have all missed birthdays, holidays, work and countless family functions. We have learned that when the siren rings, we are needed. We dedicate countless hours to this department so when the time arises, we can safely execute our abilities as firefighters.
We have learned that Wolf Point and the surrounding community supports us wholeheartedly. For the past 100 years, the only way that the Firemen’s Ball has been a success is due to the donors and participants. We are a small town and we all know each other. Our vested interest in this community is the safety of everyone who lives here. We are humbled by donations that this community has bestowed upon on us. Remember that every donation goes directly into the department, allowing us to upgrade and replace equipment.