Memorial wall honors local firefighters’ dedication
A new memorial wall built in front of the Grant County Fire District No. 3 fire station honors nearly four dozen men and women for their dedication and service to the district and the Quincy Valley.
The memorial wall honors all volunteers and career firefighters – past and present – who have more than 20 years of service to the district. Forty-four names are currently on the wall, which has room to add more.
“The memorial wall has been in the works since the station was built eight years ago,” said Don Fortier, the fire district’s chief. “We build pretty fast when there’s an emergency and take our time when there isn’t.”
Volunteer firefighter Tom Keller has been with the fire district for nearly 37 years and is among those named on the wall.
“My aunts and uncles were volunteers,” Tom Keller said. “Don Fortier is my uncle. My two brothers were also volunteers. It was sort of a family tradition.”
Other professional firefighters, such as Jim Kling and Rick Smith, have been been working with the department for many years. Kling started 26 years ago, and Smith has 40 years of service accumulated with the district.
“I think it’s important that we recognize 20 years of service to anyone who has provided that level of service to the community,” Fortier said.
Current career firefighters, volunteers and support staff with more than 20 years of service who are on the wall are: Fortier, Kling, Smith, Tom Keller, Ed Bews, Dirk Dunn, Steve Evens, Duane Hardt, Dale Hille, Duane Hubbard, Robert Keller, Calvin Liebelt, Sonia Padron, Randy Zolman, Eugene Reed and Jeff Spence.
“The volunteers have the training and experience to help their neighbors in ways the average person can’t,” firefighter Michele Talley said. “They help make their community safer, and that’s a service only a select few can provide. They have a strong sense of community involvement.”
The wall was funded with donations and corporate sponsorships from Intuit, Cascade Fire and Safety, Turner Construction, Ferguson Concrete, the Joe Keller Family, Lee Fortier Family, Jeff Porter, White Heron Cellars, Standing Room Only, the Quincy Lions Club, Twin Firs Turf, Double Diamond Fruit and Grant County No. 3 Volunteers.
— By Tammara Green, QVPR contributor