Clubs Brunick: Firefighters' dedication is 'awesome'

Firefighters use a simple phrase to describe their jobs – they "put wet stuff on the red stuff."

Vermillion Fire Chief Doug Brunick described both the challenges and the rewards experienced by the 42 members of the local volunteer fire department at Tuesday's noon luncheon meeting of the Vermillion Rotary Club.

Vermillion is home to both a city department and a rural department. Together, the manpower and equipment of these two entities offers protection to a 160 square mile area.

Vermillion's firefighters fulfill a variety of roles, Brunick said. They provide mechanical services to their vehicles and equipment. They visit local elementary schools to teach kids about fire safety.

And when they aren't fighting fires, they're cleaning their equipment. "For every hour we fight a fire, we spend about half an hour afterwards cleaning," Brunick said.

The constant shine on Vermillion's fire trucks easily leads one to believe they are new. The city's ladder truck actually is a 1981 model, and may need to be replaced in a few years. The department recently replaced its 1992 pumper truck with a 2002 model.

The rural department has two tanker trucks that are 15 to 20 years old. Last year, with the help of a $120,000 grant and $12,000 from the city, the department purchased new protective clothing and self-contained breathing apparatuses.

Brunick hopes that Vermillion can someday establish a training facility in the community for local firefighters. "Most of our training is done in-house."

The biggest challenges facing the department include recruiting and retaining volunteers, and coping with rising costs of firefighting equipment.

Vermillion's volunteer force comes from all walks of life, he said. Their backgrounds may vary, he said, but they are all skilled through their vigorous training and are highly devoted to provide fire protection and other emergency services.

"They take the time, they're dedicated," said Brunick, who has served as chief for approximately 20 years. "When the time comes for them to act, they always come through. They are awesome."

Seniors enjoy cooler weather

On Tuesday, Aug. 5, eight domino players gathered at the Senior Citizens Center. The weather had cooled but no rain came. The winner was Beverly Mount 253; and Lorraine Zeller had 356 for the high score. Everyone is welcome every Tuesday afternoon; no reservations needed.

On Wednesday, Aug. 6, 21 pitch, four pinochle and 19 bridge players enjoyed the afternoon that continued to be a little cooler. Prizes went to bridge players, Shirley Riehle, first; Jim Prosser, second; Barb Kronaizl, third, Adeline Isaacson, blind bogey; and Monica Ballard, low. Card players are also welcome anytime every Wednesday afternoon. The center furnished coffee break treats.

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