VFD Treating the Community

A chill was in the air -- after all, it was fall -- but the sun was shining and there was warmth all around as the Victoria Fire Department treated the community at their Open House on Saturday, October 4th, 2014.  Educational and informational displays included color books and firemen's hats and other fun things for the children.

Visitors were treated to sloppy joes, hotdogs, potato chips, cookies, lemonade and hot chocolate.  Smiling women of Victoria firefighters took a brief break for the editor's camera.  Left to right:  Sara (wife of Ryan Rivers), Jackie (wife of Jason Hesse), Chelsey (wife of Dave Shoger), Brenda (wife of Aaron Jurek), Angie Fenske (girlfriend of Jon Diethelm), Jana (wife of Brady Lee).

The chairman in charge of the event was Lieutenant Ryan Rivers.  Said Chief Heger, "Ryan took on a bulk of the work to plan this event and make it another great success."

Members of the Carver County Mounted Posse are always popular at the Open House.

Although children and members of the Posse admired his pretty coat and saddle and colorful leggings, the horse had other things on his mind.  Did you know that the man who made Grimm Alfalfa popular in the United States is Wendelin Grimm?  His home still stands in the Carver Park area of Victoria.

Perhaps the most exciting event of the day was a ride around town in a Big Red Fire Engine.  The rides began early and continued for hours.

Paula Noll, a paramedic, invited youngsters into a Ridgeview Ambulance stationed at the Victoria Fire Station to tell them about what happens when an ambulance arrives at a residence or an accident or other fire call and about procedures inside the ambulance.

Fire Chief Andrew Heger said the fire engines were driven by Rick Leuthner, Mike Mulheran, Jacob Servais, and Brady Lee, in various shifts throughout the day.

Retired Firefighter Doug Jurek and his wife Lynn were babysitting their granddaughters while their sons and daughter in law were working during the Open House at the Victoria Fire Station.  Chloe is the daughter of son Aaron and his wife Brenda.

Adalei is the daughter of son Justin.  Both Chloe and Adalei just turned one year old and their birthdays are five days apart.  Said Lynn, "Both of our sons are on the Victoria Fire Department, following in their father's and grandfather's footsteps as firefighters."

Victoria Firefighter Dave Shoger got caught helping in the kitchen. Thank you, Dave, and thank you to all Victoria firefighters and spouses, past and present, who contribute much to the community spirit that is Victoria.   Was there enough food for the large crowd of visitors?  Replied Chief Andrew Heger, "We had plenty of food, actually some left over.  The food is all donated and prepared by the Victoria House.  The only thing we do is serve it."

Two retired Victoria firefighters (Steve Schmieg, left, and Jerry Hilgers) acquiesced to a request from the editor, as you can see. 

The cutouts were most popular with children, however.

When he saw the rusty thing, he knew he couldn't let it go.  Victoria Firefighter Rick Leuthner was visiting the Garden Patch, a nursery on County Road 19 in Excelsior, where they were cleaning out an old building.  It was in April of this year.  Rick said the large old safe was rusty and not pretty to look at.  It had been in the building for 50 to 60 years and it didn't have a combination. 

                 "I knew the Victoria Fire Department was looking to buy a safe to store all the old records and stuff," said Rick.  "We were going to buy something to store all the records for the last 100 years.  That's how it started.  The safe dates back to the early 1900's so I thought it was perfect for the Victoria Fire Department which dates back to 1913."

                 How much did Rick pay for the old safe?  "Scrap price," he replied.  "Seven cents a pound.  It amounted to about $150.  It weighed over 2,000 pounds.  It didn't have a combination and nobody else wanted it."

How did Rick get the rusty monster back to his shop in Victoria?  "I trailered it," he replied.  "I got a trailer and loaded the safe with a forklift and hauled it to Hanson Sandblasting at Watertown.  After that, I got to deal with it.  I could barely move it around with a jack lift."  From Watertown, the safe was hauled to the Leuthner Well Shop in Victoria.  The door is a foot thick.  Now it has a lock and combination that work.

                 Then Rick hired Leslie O'Halloran of Signs and Such in Chanhassen to paint it and put on the names and logos and everything.  It cost about $1,000.  "That was not a project for me," admitted Rick.  "Leslie helped me a lot.  The safe doesn't have a smooth surface and the vinyl didn't want to stick."  Said Rosie, "It was fun to do."

                 The first level of names includes the 1913 Charter Members of the Victoria Fire Department.  The next section includes names of the Retired Members of the Victoria Fire Department.  The third group of names includes those Active Members of the Victoria Fire Department as of July 13th, 2013, the anniversary date of the Department's 100-year anniversary.  Rick said the names total 79 in number.

"Then we had to figure out how to get it to the Fire Station," said Rick of his completed project.  "Johnny Storms has a fork lift and a couple big guys helped move it around."  First public showing of the safe was at the recent Open House on Saturday, October 4th.  Good job, Rick.

Editor Sue