Monthly Archives: December 2016

Police, fire, public works join to repair house

house-repairStory by Julie Clements

One El Dorado man is having a brighter Christmas this year due to the efforts of the El Dorado Police and Fire departments and Public Works employees.

The group gathered early Friday morning to clean and repair Gary’s house, but plans started a week before.

Officer Paul Sanders with the El Dorado Police Department started the project after he received a call to the house last Friday night.

He said the call was confusing because someone was saying they had a water leak in the kitchen and was afraid it would start a fire. Dispatch sent the police department and that was when Sanders met Gary.

“I helped get the water turned off and I helped him out at least for the evening,” Sanders said. “I saw he was living in less than the best conditions.”

He said the house was in bad shape and invested with bugs.

Sanders said he talked with his colleagues and they talked to their lieutenant about doing something for Gary and his dog right before Christmas.

“Our lieutenant thought it was a great idea,” Sanders said. “The entire city has pulled together.”

The city donated used furniture, that was nicer than what Gary had, as well as such things as plates, cups, cutlery, dog food and treats and more. They also had a bed donated, because Gary did not have one and was just sleeping in his recliner.

Thank You For The Blessings

Kansas emergency service lost a superstar several years ago.  His name was Bill Brubaker. Anybody who’s anybody in Kansas emergency service knew Bill. He was a Chief Officer with the City of Lawrence before retiring to take a position as a Regional Emergency Manager with the State of Kansas.

After Bill’s death, a fellow emergency manager posted a request for folks to post one word that described Bill – a way to recognize and thank him. I suppose that request was prompted by the upcoming Christmas. I would like to take that a step further.

Christmas is many things to many people. Most recognize the day with gifts, family time, and thanks for the blessings. I would like to address that last one – specifically the blessings of working with emergency service providers in Kansas, past and present.

Thank you for the selflessness. You could’ve used your talent in a field that would’ve brought you more self wealth, but instead you chose this one – one that has brought well being to others including myself. You made sure that I went home at the end of my shift.

Thank you for the bravery. Trench cave-ins, swift waters, vehicle accidents, grain elevator falls, floods, tornados, hurricanes, fires, and hazmat spills. For one to say they never experienced fear is being dishonest or plain stupid. The basic framework of bravery is intrinsic, but the depth of the quality is learned. Everyone needs a role model. Your bravery developed and reinforced my bravery.

Thank you for the courage. It’s a close cousin to bravery, but one that crosses over to other areas. You stood up for what was right even when it wasn’t a popular stand. At times your actions may have even hurt your career. When I think of your courage I gently shake my head with amazement and smile.

Thank you for the inspiration. You taught me that just about anything could be done. You showed me what it looked like and what it felt like to perform a life saving feat. You kept going when it hurt – both physically and mentally. You made me want to be like you.

Thank you for the love. Love isn’t something most emergency workers discuss. It isn’t easy to define, but there’s nothing more important. You can’t do what we do in emergency service without caring a lot, without loving, those you do it with. I love you all – past and present.

Have a wonderful Christmas. 

Santa Clause Visit – Lake Point

santa-clauseSanta Clause had a stop-over at Lake Point rest home this afternoon.  The firefighters got a special invite.

Each of the firefighters got to visit with Santa Clause about what they wanted for Christmas.  One firefighter wanted new bunker gear, another wanted some gloves, a third wanted a helmet.

Santa asked if they had been good.   The firefighters said for the most part they had been good.

It was nice seeing Santa and nice of Lake Point to invite the firefighters to their event.

The Old Days – Some Good & Some Bad


steve*In Remembrance of Salina Fire Engineer Richard “Steve” Funke

When I tell emergency responders about the “old days” they often look at me with disbelief. Granted, there are only a few of us old dinosaurs left.

We started our career when air packs were optional. And there were only a few available – 15 minute sling-pack demand style.

There were no thermal cameras. No hoods. No sit down seat for firefighters.

We rode on the tailboard with the wind blowing in our face, hanging on for dear life to a chin high chrome bar. On snowy days we might hook up a couple spanner belts and do a little skiing on the way back to the station. “Old days”

Gloves were the mustard colored cotton jersey version. Medical gloves weren’t available because infection control hadn’t been invented yet. Mobile radios were just making their entry. Turnout gear resembled a heavy rain coat with thigh level rubber boots. “Old days”

I could have referred to the old days as the “good old days”, but we know that operationally it wasn’t good. What was good though was the camaraderie.

During the “old days” emergency responders had a tighter bond. I believe it might best be explained with an example.

Several years ago one of the old timers left us.  His name was Richard Funke.  But most of us knew him as “Mother.”

Mother spent the majority of his career as a fire engineer for the Salina Fire Department. And that role was probably part of the reason for the name “Mother”, but there was more, much more.

You see the caring didn’t start or stop on the fire ground. It was constant, whether it was preparing meals, or just general concern for your welfare. That was Steve. Those of us who knew him, sure miss him.

The “old days” – they weren’t all bad.