Banquet honors 27-member Deadwood Volunteer Fire Department

March 12, 2019

DEADWOOD — First responders of the firefighting persuasion were honored for their efforts at the Deadwood Volunteer Fire Department’s annual banquet Saturday at The Lodge at Deadwood.

With 27 recognized for their contributions, dedication, and continued presence on the roster, Chief Jason Rakow was named Firefighter of the Year and Pump House and Tin Lizzie were each honored with the Friend of the Deadwood Firefighters award.

Rakow was presented with the award by 2018 Firefighter of the Year recipient Jerry Pontius.

“This is a little bit different than normally what we have happen because, usually when you give out firefighter of the year, you keep everybody in suspense, trying to figure out who it is,” Pontius said. “This year, the winner was there counting the votes, so how do you make any suspense out of that?”

The Pump House was then presented the Friend of the Deadwood Firefighters award.

“This award is because, they call it ‘Pour It Forward,’ when they let firefighters have coffee and I know that you guys do anything you can to support the fire department and we really, really appreciate that,” said Sandy Glover, administrative assistant and volunteer.

Nick Spano of the Pump House/Mind Blown Studios was on hand to accept the award for daughter and owner Toni Gerlach

“She wanted me to share with all of you how honored she is to get this recognition from a group that is so vital to the safety of the community that she loves,” Spano said, later adding that there is currently $33 in the “Pour It Forward” coffers that’s ready and waiting for any volunteer fire department member to come in and enjoy a cup of coffee on the house.

Tin Lizzie, although not in attendance, was recognized for donating a portion of every Firehouse Brew sold to the department and received the Friend of the Deadwood Firefighters award.

“So we got a nice donation out of that,” Glover said.

Master of ceremonies Denny Gorton, retired Pennington County Fire administrator, delivered a speech asking, “What kind of mark will you leave on the fire service?” urging those in attendance, to first, and foremost, “be nice.”

“Grab it, embrace it, and relish it and enjoy whatever it is and leave your mark,” Gorton said.

Rakow presented the department’s 2018 year-end annual report at the meeting. A total of 2,406 hours were volunteered by Deadwood’s firefighters in 2018, saving the city roughly $60,822, multiplied by the state rate of $24.29 per hour, which equals $60,822 in volunteer time that the city did not have to pay for. Of the 2,406 volunteer hours, 669 hours were spent in incident responses, 764 hours in training and education and 1,071 hours in community activities. The department answered 124 calls in 2018, as compared to 104 calls in 2017. Of those calls, seven were in response to structure fires, as compared to nine in 2017.

Eight calls were in response to vehicle fires, as compared to six in 2017. Three calls were in response to wild land fires, even with 2017. Eight were rescue calls, as compared to six in 2016. Twenty-one were hazardous material calls, as compared to 15 in 2017; 26 were service calls, as compared to 19 in 2017; 48 were fire false alarm calls, as compared to 40 in 2017. One call was for a medical assist, even with 2017. Two calls were categorized as “other,” as compared to five in 2017.

“Of those, 100 calls, or 81 percent, of all incidents were inside the city limits,” Rakow said. “Fifteen calls, or 12 percent, of all incidents were out of the city limits in the Deadwood Fire District. Five calls, or 4 percent of all incidents, were outside the Deadwood Fire District. An average of six volunteers responded per call. And 124 incidents involved spending 669 volunteer hours on incidents, alone.”

In an effort to encourage physical fitness, in May 2008, the department implemented incentives for any exercise and health benefit training that is done on the firefighters’ personal time. In 2018, Deadwood firefighters had 193 hours of physical fitness training.

Glover gave all the firefighters an incentive gift and four were recognized for going above and beyond the call of duty in 2018.

“They exceeded answering 25 percent of calls, made 100 percent of meetings, and participated in more than 40 hours of training,” Glover explained.

Francis Iverson, Rakow, Ken Hawki, and Glover were the recipients of this recognition.

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