(Neb.)-Hay Springs Celebrates The Grand Opening Of Its New Fire Hall
Photo: Members of the Hay Springs Volunteer Fire Department prepare for their official hose-chopping ceremony, which they felt was an appropriate alternative to a ribbon-cutting.
(HAY SPRINGS)-Many community members from Hay Springs and the surrounding area stopped by the city’s new fire hall on Sunday for free hamburgers with fixings and the opportunity to tour the new facility. Fire chief Ryan Turman said the dream of a new fire hall began in 2009. After drawing up plans and fundraising for a couple of years, that dream has finally become a reality for the city and its volunteer firefighters. Turman says the new facility was very much needed. “The old fire hall was built in the early 1900s, and it’s falling apart,” he says. “We just needed something new, something without mice and all that good stuff.”
Turman, who also served as a contractor on the project and volunteers as an EMT, said between the fire department, which averages a rough estimate of 25-30 fires a year, and EMS calls, which roughly average 100 a year, volunteers keep busy providing the free services to the area. He said the two entities depend entirely on public support, and the community has done just that. The fire department was able to raise nearly $400,000 for the new fire hall project, which was comprised of mostly local donations and memorials and no tax dollars. “We get our local donations, and that’s about it, says Turman. “And it’s kind of a give-and-take, they depend on us a little bit, and we depend on them. So, it’s kind of a marriage. And I want to say thank you to the community and to everybody who’s donated. Without them, we would not have any of this. It’s been really, really great community support.”
Twenty-two volunteers currently serve with the Hay Springs Fire Department. The youngest member, 25-year-old Max Schneider, said he joined in 2006 when he was still in high school. He said it is rewarding to serve his community. “Just being able to help in the community,” says Schneider. “And somebody gives you a pat on the back when you see them a couple days later because you helped with their grandmother or helped their kid at a football game with a twisted ankle. It makes you feel pretty good. Just the appreciation the community gives us for helping them out…they help us out ten-fold compared to what we do for them.”
Eighty-nine-year-old Gene Hoefer has been a member of the fire department since 1964 and is the oldest firefighter on the team. He’s lived in the area his whole life, and the community has always provided good support to the department. He says he may not be as active as he used to be, but he is very excited to have the new fire hall. “I don’t respond too much to the calls anymore, they say I’m getting too old to chase these fire trucks and the ambulance around,” says Hoefer with a chuckle. “But I try to make all the meetings and support them in every way I can. This fire hall is going to be a wonderful new addition to our fire department.”
Chief Turman says there are a few minor things to finish and the new hall should be fully operational within the next couple weeks. He said the new hall, which includes a meeting room, two bathrooms, a kitchen, and plenty of storage, will not only be a nice new place to house the trucks and store equipment, but will also provide new opportunities for hosting mutual aid training events and various fundraisers.
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