Monthly Archives: February 2015

Fire Company Photographer Needed

cameraFire Company Photographer

Time Commitment: Various

Equipment: Digital camera (SLR preferred, but point-and-shoot will also work) or digital video camera

Details: We’re looking for someone to photograph on the scene during fire calls and at trainings. Photos would be used for archival and fire company educational/promotional purposes.

Contact: Amy Wissing at 717-330-3149 or

Computer/Equipment Help Needed

Building Electrical Wiring, Radios, Computer Equipment/Systems

Do you have interest and knowledge of maintaining and improving computer equipment/systems, radios, or building electrical wiring? We have a variety of systems needing attention and could really use your help. Call for details!

Contact: Tim Hoerner at 717-291-1687 or

A Note From the Chief… JOIN OUR TEAM!

You have seen them…big red shiny fire trucks hurrying to an emergency. Maybe a fire company has even helped you. When those fire trucks pull up to a scene of chaos and the parking brakes are set with a who-o-o-sh, men and women scamper out and go to work. We call them firefighters.

What all have they been through to earn that title? The time your volunteers give to answering fire calls is only a small part of the total hours they donate to their community.

There is a huge amount of work that goes into making sure a fire company is prepared…

  • fire truck maintenance
  • training coordination & record keeping
  • tactical planning (“if this building ever burns, use this driveway for…”)
  • financial planning
  • fundraising
Crews practice vehicle rescue training in Witmer Fire Co. parking lot.

Have you ever thought about joining the fantastic team at the Bird-in-Hand Fire Company? No matter what your talents, skill set, or interests are, there is a task at the fire station that will be a good fit for you!

Written by Chief Lonnie Kauffman

Financial Report

2014expensesThe year 2014 was again financially successful for our fire company. We held three fire company fundraising dinners, had a successful Carriage and Antique Auction, and managed a sold-out Half Marathon event. Due to the success of these events, along with your donations and our township support, we paid all of our operating costs and then set aside nearly $140,000 for our next major fire apparatus purchase currently scheduled for 2020.

We’ve made a very conscious effort over the past 10 years to engage our community and ask for your help to strengthen our finances and to build a solid financial foundation for our next generation of volunteers. Thanks to your strong support, we continue to meet all of our financial goals and remain 100% debt free!

During 2014, over 365 residents and businesses from our community donated more than $45,000 in cash contributions. Our volunteers greatly appreciate your support and we would like to assure you that we will do everything in our ability to use these funds in a responsible manner.

Please consider supporting our volunteers again this year by making a generous financial contribution. Thank you for all that you do for our fire company and our community!

Contributed by Paul Fisher & Ivan Stoltzfus

Buggy Accidents Increase in Lancaster County

wwatch_the_horseRecently Lancaster County residents have heard about an increase in the number of vehicle accidents involving Amish buggies. Speed and carelessness are the culprits in almost every case. Carelessness can be the fault of either the car or buggy driver.

Motorists should be aware that even though most horses are trained for the road, they can still spook. When passing a buggy under normal driving conditions, motorists should primarily watch the horse. Watching only the buggy is a mistake. Safe driving requires vigilance and focus by all buggy and motor vehicle drivers.

CAUTION: Avoid Starting Brush Fires on Windy Days

Burning brush on a windy day is a fire hazard that has led to a current rash of wildfires. Careless open burning is a big safety issue that impacts firefighting resources in our area. Firefighters leave their places of work and lose money and company time to fight brush fires.

Wildfires that start on windy days are fires that can be avoided. Use common sense, be patient and wait for a calm, still day to burn brush. Please note that this also applies to residents in townships that prohibit trash fires, but still permit some brush fires and doggie-roast type “ceremonial” fires.

SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT: Bird-in-Hand Corporation and the Fire Company

img252There is a long-standing relationship between the Fire Company and the Bird-in-Hand Corporation, which is owned by members of the Smucker family. The Smuckers have been a part of the Bird-in-Hand community for over 100 years, since they bought their farm east of the village in 1911.

As the Smuckers farmed their land, they developed close ties with their neighbors and became involved in community life by joining the Fire Company. Eighty-five-yearold John I. Smucker remembers leaving the farm chores as a young man to drive the engine to the fires. These family members served as Fire Company chiefs: Paul Smucker in 1972-1977 and Jerry Smucker in 1978 and 1982-1986.

This multi-generational relationship between the Smucker family and the Fire Company still benefits the community today. Presently two of the largest fundraisers for the Fire Company have been developed in collaboration with the Smuckers.

In the late 2000s the Fire Company made a strategic shift in their approach to fundraising by seeking out a few large events instead of many small fundraisers. At the same time Bird-in-Hand Corporation wanted to use its land on the Smucker Homestead as an event venue. In June 2008 with the help of Jake King, Paul Stoltzfus and Elam Petersheim, they worked together to bring the Lancaster County Carriage and Antique Auction to the village. A successful partnership was formed with Bird-in-Hand, which provides the event site and also financial and technical assistance.

Many of the Smucker Family are avid runners, including Jim and John Smucker. In November 2010 Jim and John were instrumental in promoting and organizing the first Amish Country Bird-in-Hand Half Marathon. They also had the innovative idea to connect the race and the Fire Company. The event on the Homestead has evolved into the Run, Ride, and Soar weekend in early September, bringing thousands of people to the village. This has become a very profitable event for the Fire Company whose members serve as volunteers.

Bird-in-Hand and the Fire Company are committed to grow this event and make it more efficient. The emphasis is on friendly hospitality that creates an unforgettable experience in our picturesque community for the runners and other Guests.

John Smucker of the Bird-in-Hand Corporation explains the relationship, “We call on the Fire Company for protection and support and in return want to provide support and resources to them. As our business has experienced development and growth, the Fire Company has also developed into a professional organization. We appreciate that they are able to minimize damage when responding to a call for a company of our size. They reach for the appropriate techniques and tools. It is a sign of their level of training, sophisticated equipment, and their innovations and commitment.”

John also comments, “Our business is particularly interested in how the Fire Company is planning for its future in order to stay sustainable. Together we both share a strong vision for our community. And together we can accomplish our goals and make our community a good place to live and work.”


Bird-in-Hand Corporation provides the infrastructure for events. Darryl Hassler, Restaurant Operations Manager, consults with Fire Company Vice-President Paul Fisher. Together they offer the Friday evening Pasta Dinner on the Run, Ride, and Soar weekend under the big tent on the Smucker Homestead.

2014 Firefighter of the Year

img87Stanley Shrock joined the Fire Company in 2000 when Stephen Stoltzfus invited him to become a member. Since Stanley had worked at Carriage Machine and had transported their employees to the fires, it was natural for him to become a firefighter too.

The fact that Stanley worked in Bird-in-Hand and was close by during the day when calls came in was a big advantage. Plus he had always worked with trucks and was available to drive the fire engines. Now he also lives in the village in a home that is very close to the station and he is a big part of the Fire Company activities.

Stanley serves as an active firefighter, an engineer, chaplain, and helps with driver training and fundraising. He has great passion for his work as chaplain, a position he has officially held for the past three years. “I have been given a servant’s heart and reach out where I can to assist others. I try to be a bridge builder and a mentor to those who struggle in making connections with others.”

The chaplain’s responsibilities include prayers at meetings and meals, sending flowers and giving meal cards during sickness and death, organizing firefighters to pay tribute to those who have passed away, providing emotional and spiritual support at times of crisis, and addressing needs in the community. Stanley counts it a blessing to be able to work with other firefighters to do this important work, all for the glory of God.