By Deanna Wakkinen, I-O Reporter
Old habits die hard as I consider the new name to the “Fireman’s Ball”. The Annual Fundraiser and Open House for the Conrad Volunteer Fire Department (CVFD) will be held Nov. 27.
The festivities begin at 7 p.m. for those 21 and older at the Fire Hall with appetizers and drinks and presentations for the spectators. The real party gets underway at the Conrad Moose Lodge after the presentations end at about 9 p.m. Good music and great people will have everyone dancing and enjoying the night away. Breakfast will be served at 1 a.m.
Currently, 18 families are involved with our Volunteer Fire Department. Joel Farkell, training and public relations officer for the CVFD, stresses that the VFD is not just about the men serving but also greatly involves their families at home. Each year the department hosts a family barbeque to recognize their contributions.
The CVFD members are all 100 percent volunteer and they serve two departments, city and rural. All members are constantly on call with the city and they are on a rotated schedule for those on call to rural emergencies.
When our town siren wails three times, the call is in for the CVFD to get to the scene of a city fire or emergency.
The CVFD has the only jaws-of-life in the county in case of an emergency for extraction from wreckage.
Our firefighters prepare for calls like those by training and practicing each Tuesday. They learn all they can from structure to grass fires.
They even have specialized training on confined space rescuing. Firefighters also attend conventions and training outside of our community.
The department has funds from donations to help pay for these events.
Nationally, the department is required to have 30 hours of practice each year. Conrad averages 52 hours per person in the department.
The CVFD is proud to participate in the community and they like to help as much as they can. They participate in Fire Prevention Week within the schools every year and educate children from Head Start on up through fifth grade, this also includes the Conrad Christian School. This is a national program and they either bring the kids to tour the fire hall or go to the school with their trucks.
The CVFD is also part of the Smoke Detector Program. With this program, any resident who needs a smoke detector can get one and the CVFD comes and installs it all for free. Donations are always appreciated and they are put towards the purchase of more smoke detectors.
The CVFD will continue to check these smoke detectors as requested by the resident.
Farkell said, for those interested, the CVFD is “always looking but (we) don’t advertise” when it comes to recruiting new men. Those interested should contact a member. After a person is considered, a membership committee reviews their application and the department votes on their acceptance or denial.
After 25 years with the CVFD a member can retire. Farkell stated that there are currently three members close to retirement.
Kevin Moritz is the current chief of the fire department. Bryan Jones is the assistant chief, Doug Moritz is captain, Shawn Sullivan is secretary and Jeff Sullivan is treasurer. Steve Russett is the communications officer and there are four lieutenants; Ralph Diedrich, Keith Hruska, S. Sullivan and J. Sullivan. There is also a relief association and many different appointed committees.
For more information on the CVFD, you may contact Farkell at 581-6243.