Lake George Fire Protection District firefighting team members

Left to right: (Standing on the truck) Tristan Weaver and Tom Hopkins. (Back row) George Argeropoulos, Ed Adams, Robin Schellhous, Rex Oliver, John Walsh, Roger Aldridge, Allen Kerby, John Mogoon, Ron Howland, Kerry Bynes and Kirk Weaver. (Sitting) Fire Chief Susan Bernstetter, Nancy Weaver, Christine Aldridge, Laura Geyer and Kelly Borders. Team members not in the photo include Randy Zettlemoyer, John Hayes III, Clay Douglass, Bill Boles and Alexander Walsh. (Photo by Sonja Oliver/The Flume)

The Lake George Fire Protection District held its annual volunteer appreciation dinner on Sunday, Jan. 20, at the main fire house located in Lake George. Fire Chief Susan Bernstetter said the dinner was an opportunity to say “thank you” to the volunteers and to give a status report on department activities during 2018.

The appreciation dinner was also an opportunity for the department to present their new fire engine, a brand new Fouts Brothers 2018 Freightliner M2 106 fire truck.

With the voter-approved mill levy increase in 2017, the department was able to go forward with the fire truck replacement program initiated by former Chief Dutch Kleinhesselink, who served as chief with the department for 37 years.

Bernstetter made the announcement that a second new truck will be arriving sometime in the next eight weeks.

“We will have an open house once the new brush truck arrives, so that the community can see both trucks,” Bernstetter said.

Focusing back on the volunteers, Bernstetter is pleased with the direction the department was taking, thanking volunteers for their time, participation and commitment, and acknowledged families and community members for their continued support.

“The appreciation dinner gives myself and the board a chance to say thank you. It takes all of us working as a team to be successful. Their commitment as volunteers is the foundation, the backbone of this department,” Bernstetter said.

Bernstetter lauded the volunteers for their participation in 2018 and for the amount of time they sacrificed, not only in response to calls, but their commitment to the numerous hours of necessary training for qualification as first responders, both medical and firefighting.

The fire department, currently with 24 volunteer members, responded to 178 calls in 2018, which included a variety of incidents.

The 178 calls included 39 auto accidents, 83 medical calls, 36 wildland fires and seven structure fires. The increased number of calls appears to continue a trend, experienced over the past several years, because of increased recreational activity in the region.

Statistics cited included increased frequency of incidents of fire department response on specific days of the week, especially weekends.

The LGFPD invites interested community members to consider joining the department as volunteers in every capacity. Trainings are held every Monday night beginning at 6:30 p.m. Call 719-748-3022 for more information.

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