News: Hatfield - HFRD to Break Ground in May (Fire Hall - 2015)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Staffon, Dvorak, Nordin, Waukon, Ehlen, Bue, Subke, Blackdeer, Bearder, Johnson, Kaufman, Pettibone

----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI) 4/8/2015

HCN’s Donation Means HFRD Can Break Ground in May (Fire Hall - 2015)

By JoDee Brooke

Despite some brisk temperatures March 30, several volunteers from the Hatfield Fire & Rescue Department (HFRD) and representatives of the Ho-Chunk Nation (HCN) squeezed inside HFRD’s fire hall. It was a special day.

For over four years, HFRD volunteers, and it is strictly volunteers, have been working to raise money for a new building in which to house the equipment and firefighter gear and maybe even have a designated space for their meetings. Right now, they pull a truck outside to make room.

The thermometer March 30 hanging on the side of the fire hall showing how much money has been raised read around the $280,000 mark, a lot but not quite enough to begin breaking ground.

It was back in 1974 when Red Staffon and Doug Dvorak began looking into establishing a fire department in the Hatfield area in hopes of being able to provide better fire protection for Hatfield-area residents and the many visitors Hatfield welcomes each year. Both Staffon and Dvorak were at last Friday’s gathering.

HFRD Chief Gary Nordin submitted a request to the HCN earlier this year to consider a donation to the fire and rescue department. That request was granted last week when the HCN presented a check for $150,000 to the HFRD.

The HFRD has 25 volunteer members. “It’s a tough task to get people to volunteer,” said Nordin, “with all the training they’re required to complete. Half of our volunteers never even grew up in the area. We visited here and fell in love with it. It’s difficult fining people willing to sacrifice their time to help their fellow man in time of need. Whether it’s family, friends or complete strangers, our members sitting home with their families are always ready to answer that call if their pager goes off. Hopefully, the new station will be a magnet to attract individuals who want to be a part of our unselfish team.

Nordin said first responders respond to between four and 10 calls a month, where the firefighters respond to an average of two calls per month or an accident. HFRD also provides mutual aid to the Black River Falls and Merrillan fire departments.

“We really do appreciate what you do,” shared HCN Legislator Susan Waukon. “We thank You.”

Nordin said the new building will sit at the same site as the current building. He anticipates they will begin taking the old building down in May. Plans are for the new structure to have an F1 rating and be able to provide shelter for campground visitors during a tornado or severe storm.

The department’s fundraising theme since it began raising money for its new fire hall is, “A SMALL community with BIG goal.” The department has been in existence for 40 years, and Staffon and Dvorak are still active fundraisers.

“On any given weekend, you can see four different state license plates in our area,” Nordin shared. “Hatfield itself is a magnet to tourists and weekend retreats with our scenic beauty and array of outdoor opportunities, so we need our department, a unique one, by the way. We are not owned or operated by any government entity. We govern and operate within ourselves with the trust and support of the community. Without that support of the entire community, we would not be here today.

We are fortunate we have a very good community supporting us, and we are so grateful to the HCN for believing in us,” shared Nordin.

The Hatfield Fire & Rescue Department (HFRD) started a major fundraising project about four years ago to raise money for a new fire hall. After countless chicken feeds, soup suppers and various other events in which firefighters and first responders spent countless hours working to raise money for the new building, the total on the thermometer March 30, was $280,000. Granting a request from the fire department, representatives from the Ho-Chunk Nation (HCN) stopped in Hatfield that Friday in March with a check for $150,000, enough to begin construction on the new building in May. “We are fortunate to have a very good community around us and we are truly grateful to the Ho-Chunk Nation,” shared fire chief Gary Nordin. Pictured are (front, l-r) Barb Ehlen, Lucy Bue, Gary Nordin, Don Subke, all HFRD volunteers; (back) HCN Legislator Greg Blackdeer; Red Staffon, Al Bearder, Gene Johnson, Curt Kaufman, HFRD; HCN Legislator Lori Pettibone, HCN Legislator Sudan Waukon, and Doug Dvorak, HFRD. (JoDee Brooke/Banner Journal photo)




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