Reflecting, perhaps at times, in our busy, event-filled daily rituals, we become all-encompassed on our personal undertakings, while taking perhaps, things which we don’t even consider, for granted. That’s certainly not a crime. It’s simply humans being humans. But just as the familiar cliché states, “you don’t know what you have until it’s gone”… maybe we should consider that, we don’t know what we have until it’s there … as in the case of our volunteer fire department; the Kimball Area Fire & Rescue Department. The thankless efforts of the brave men and women, who stand guard, 24-7, for the assurance of our safety and goodwill, are at times, unintentionally overlooked. These are the friends and relatives who walk among and with us, who join us in our church worships, school functions, business ventures, and playground frolics. These are the people in our communities who always have our backs, and seem to have the rare gift and ability to put others’ well-being ahead of their own. Therefore, it is this reporter’s intention to enlighten all on just a touch of what resides behind the Kimball Area Fire & Rescue Department’s doors.
Fire Chief John Gohmann is devoted to his profession and remains grateful to all of his volunteers. “Currently, we have a staff of 24 dedicated and excellent volunteers, and we are in the process of recruiting more.” Following is a sampling of the immediate inventory, accompanied by noteworthy facts and figures.
(1) 2001 Freightliner pumper - (taxpayers paid for)
(1) 2007 International tanker - (fire department paid for 75 percent and taxpayer dollars paid
(1) 2003 International tanker - (fire department paid for 100 percent)
(1) 2004 Ford with equipment truck body - (ran a capital campaign and funded entire truck)
(1) 1996 Ford type 3 ambulance (being replaced this month with a 2013 Dodge type 3 ambulance body) (KFD paid $84,000; taxpayers paid $10,000)
(1) 1999 Chevrolet Tahoe - (KFD 100 percent paid for)
(1) 1989 Dodge pickup with grass rig skid; DNR borrowed truck; KFD paid for skid and lights
(1) 1985 Chevrolet pickup with grass rig skid - (KFD paid for
(1) Small boat for water rescue - (KFD paid 100 percent)
(1) Kubota RTV with grass rig skid - (KFD paid 100 percent)
The trucks KFD has purchased on its own, made possible by funds generated by gambling dollars, fundraisers, donations from the community, and grant money. “I would rate our inventory, as a whole, as top-of-the-line; the only mediocre trucks we have would be our two pickups just because of the age,” Gohmann said. The KFD services the city of Kimball, Maine Prairie Township, Kingston Township, and also a portion of Fairhaven Township. “When the need to purchase trucks or equipment arises, we decided what we need and, if we are able to fund it ourselves, we do that,” said chief Gohmann. According to the chief, the Kimball Lions have been a big help to the department’s efforts over the years, and many businesses have offered significant donations, i.e., A.M. Maus and Son, Gohmann’s Foods, Arnold’s of Kimball, Kuechle Underground, FireTrak, Arvig, Fairhaven Lions, Land O’ Lakes Oil, Knaus Sausage House, Harvest Bank, Kim-Built, and numerous local residents.
The biggest community fundraiser for the fire department each year is the Palm Sunday pancake breakfast. This year’s attendance was 1,249, proof positive that the department enjoys solid support beyond the city of Kimball’s 766 residents (as of 2011).
In the past five years, the department has received two AFG Grants from the federal government, totaling around $200,000, and it has also received smaller, miscellaneous grants, summing approximately $20,000. While the department obviously appreciates all of the generous communities’ support, it is I, the reporter, who reminds you that it is your continued generosity and support that will enable the bell to keep ringing!