Pella Volunteer Fire Dept.
The members of the Pella Fire and Rescue Department are dedicated to helping the people of the Township of Pella.
Jerry Weatherwax has been with the department for 22 years, the last six as fire chief.
“I enjoy the part of helping people out,” said Weatherwax, who also spent 10 years on the Embarrass Fire Department. “If I don’t do it, who will?”
There are 29 volunteers, including 10 first responders, several of whom are also firefighters.
Weatherwax said the fire department averages one call a month; the first responders average four calls a month.
Brian Westfahl has been a firefighter and first responder for five years. He has helped at car accidents, diabetic emergencies and other medical emergencies.
“I enjoy helping out the community I live in,” Westfahl said. “It’s a very rewarding experience.”
The department has a pumper, tanker and rescue vehicle that carries the two Jaws of Life given to them from Shawano and Menominee County.
They also have a brush truck for grass fires and an ATV, which came from a grant from Stockbridge.
“When you have a small department you have to see where you can get help,” Weatherwax said. “We work on a shoestring budget.”
The vehicles are checked regularly by mechanics Bill Korth and Bill Wissmann.
Firefighters and first responders receive initial and ongoing training. The volunteers are cross-trained to handle several jobs in the department.
“Everybody has to know how to do many things,” James Habeck said.
The departments are part of the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System. It is a federal program that many departments use to get help to an emergency that is too big for one department.
In the fall, the department does chimney cleaning, $35 for one and $50 for two, for town of Pella residents.
“We do that as part of our fire safety awareness,” Weatherwax said.
For 10 years the department has sponsored a trail ride followed by a dance at Tober Farms. The funds are used to supplement their budget. This year’s ride is from Aug. 29-31.
Officers are Rick Spiegel, president; Jesse Barkow, secretary; Westfahl, first responder director and assistant fire chief; Lyle Krueger, treasurer and assistant fire chief; and Corey Riley, vice president.
The department could use more volunteers.
“We always need more people,” Weatherwax said. “We need good young help.”
The volunteers meet at 7 p.m. on the third Monday of the month at the Pella Fire Department.
For more information, call Weatherwax at 715-524-5642.