All posts by Jeffrey Tischer

2016 Firefighter of the Year

PatchChristian Stoltzfus, Jr. joined the Fire Company as a Junior Firefighter when he was 17 years old. He is the fifth son in a lineup of nine boys in his family. All of his older brothers had become firefighters before him so it was natural for him to join too.

In addition to responding to fires, Junior has served as a lieutenant and a captain. Presently he is Captain 2. His specific assignment for the past seven years has been to manage the personal protective equipment for the Fire Company. This includes outfitting new firefighters in their firefighting gear, keeping track of inventory stored in the basement, and making sure every firefighter’s gear is in good repair and up-to-date.

Junior has also been active with fundraisers. During the Half Marathon weekend, he co-managed the parking. This is not a small feat as the attendance and number of cars have increased greatly over the seven years that the event has been held. From 2012-2014 Junior served on the Committee to Design & Purchase our New Tanker. That required
a lot of meeting time and research. He recalls making two trips to the Pierce Manufacturing, Inc. in Appleton, Wisconsin as part of the process of purchasing and customizing the new tanker that was put into service in March 2014.

After ten years as a member of the Fire Company, Junior claims that he would not know as many of his neighbors without this community involvement. He comments, “Not one person can do it alone. It is best to take everyone’s interests into consideration and then put them where their skills can best be used.”
Junior encourages young people to stretch themselves and take responsibility by becoming a firefighter. Get out and meet new people and then learn to work with them! It is a very worthwhile priority in life to help neighbors and that is what keeps Junior serving his community. Junior was named Firefighter of the Year at the Fire Company Turkey Dinner on November 16, 2016.

The Fireman of the Year is chosen through a peer nomination process.

2017 Turkey Dinner

If you were involved with the Fire Company in any position in the past, you are invited to the annual Turkey Dinner!  Mark your calendar:  The next dinner is on November 15, 2017 (location TBA).   The dinner is always scheduled on the Wednesday evening before the week of Thanksgiving.  Questions?  Leave message on fire station voicemail 717-392-0112.

A Note from the Chief

Many in the Bird-in-Hand community are undoubtedly familiar with the New Testament story of the Good Samaritan. In that parable, the Good Samaritan tosses aside his ideas of race, culture, and class and decides to help a person in need (his neighbor) on the basis of kindness and doing the right thing.

Is a firefighter’s motivation any different? At the Bird-in-Hand Fire Station, we welcome community members who want to help others and want to make a difference for someone who is experiencing a crisis.

The Fire Company’s mission statement mentions “all who are willing to serve.” The finer details of being a firefighter, such as how to fight a fire, how to rescue a person from a crashed car, or how to drive a fire truck can readily be taught to a person who is motivated to serve others and be a team player.

Financial Report

Thanks to the support of our community, 2016 was another financially strong year for the Fire Company. We continue to rely on our community for the financial support we need to provide excellent fire protection for all of our friends and neighbors.

During 2016 our largest expense was the purchase of 18 new self-contained breathing apparatus for our firefighters at a cost of $122,000. This equipment is a critical part of the full protection we provide to our volunteer firefighters.

We ask that you please continue to stand by our volunteers by supporting them with a donation in 2017. Remember, even if you’re only able to give a small amount, your support makes a difference.

Financial Report 2

Sponsor Spotlight: JM Lapp Heating and Plumbing


JM Lapp, a heating and plumbing company, is located one mile east of Bird-in-Hand at  919  Old Philadelphia Pike. Owner Matt Lapp began his business in 2006 when he decided to branch out on his own after working eight years for another plumbing company.

Marking its tenth year in business in 2016, JM Lapp has experienced significant growth and today has 16 full-time employees and a fleet of 13 trucks. They service homebuilders, light commercial projects, and residential customers within a one hour radius of their shop with plumbing, heating, air conditioning, and water treatment.

Because Matt loves to run, he has taken part in most of the Bird-in-Hand Half Marathons. When the Fire Company asked him about providing bottled water from his company for participants as they finished the course and for spectators as they cheered under the hot sun, Matt readily agreed. His generosity obviously helps the Fire Company take care of the runners. On the other hand, the 4,000 water bottles with his name and logo help get the word out about his company. It is a win/win for everyone.

Matt says, “We are part of a great community. I like to donate water to events that are community based like the Bird-in-Hand Half Marathon and the Intercourse Heritage Days. If we can impact our communities for good, it will have a ripple effect. Good communities will make a great state, good states will make a great nation, good nations will make a great world.”

Every year several of the staff members at JM Lapp support the Fire Company by running in the Half Marathon. Another connection is that a Bird-in-Hand firefighter is a JM Lapp employee. Matthew Fisher, son of Daniel Fisher and grandson of Dan Fisher, works in inventory and shipping and is in charge of the retail store that stocks products to supply area farmers with their plumbing and water needs.

The goals for JM Lapp are top quality plumbing and heating work and ncommon customer service. But beyond that, Matt’s company wants to invest in the local community and they value the trusted relationship they have with the Bird-in-Hand Fire Company. In return, the Fire Company likes to support local businesses, so they have chosen JM Lapp to install an additional heating system for the basement of the Fire Hall.

Employees of JM Lapp who ran in the 2016 Bird-in-Hand Half Marathon are Levi Stoltzfus, Daniel Ranck, Matt Lapp, and Michael Stoltzfus. They, along with many other runners, appreciated the JM Lapp water bottles after the race.

Families Support their Firefighters

The Bird-in-Hand Fire Company held its annual Turkey Dinner on November 16, 2016 at Good and Plenty Restaurant. This is a time when present Fire Company members enjoy getting together with those who have served with the Company in the past. It is truly a heartwarming event with lots of good food and great conversation.

A highlight of the evening was the presentation of Lifetime Service Awards to Glen Siegrist and Les Fazekas. To recapture the value of their long years of service, family members were asked to provide photographs and give presentations.

Dawn Siegrist Waltman, daughter of Glen and Louise, spoke about the adventures that she and her siblings shared with their father during his 66 years of service. Since Glen was a plumber and a firefighter, he was constantly responding to emergencies. Even though the Siegrists’ family life was full of interrupting phone calls and fire sirens, pride in their father’s community service came through loud and clear.

As a child, Dawn held her father in high esteem because she mistakenly thought the hat that Glen wore as Fire Police Captain meant that he was in charge of all firefighters and police everywhere! Glen’s children imitated him by directing “fire traffic” in their driveway with their riding toys. After the fire at the Dairy Queen on Route 30 in the mid-70s, Glen brought home free ice cream treats for his children. They enjoyed them even though they tasted like smoke!

Jim Fazekas, the son of Les and Barb Fazekas, spoke for his family and honored his father for 45 years of service. Jim is a former Bird-in-Hand firefighter and presently works as an air traffic controller in Leesburg, Virginia, where he volunteers as a captain of a duty crew with the Leesburg Fire Company. In the past his three brothers, Steve, John, and Mike, and his mother were also involved with the Bird-in-Hand Fire Company and Auxiliary.

Jim described the scenario of his brothers and father responding to their pagers in the dark and trying to get dressed and down the stairs without waking their mother. Invariably the cats were in the wrong place at the wrong time and several got launched down the stairs along with the boys!

Dawn and Jim’s presentations underscore the importance of the support of a firefighter’s family. Balancing family and firefighting responsibilities can be complicated because of the time demands of training and meetings, the unpredictability of fire calls, and the inherent dangers of fighting fires.

A firefighter’s family plays an important support role in personal accountability, wellness, fitness, and advocacy for safety. It is a great benefit to the Fire Company to have family members who are positive and supportive. When firefighters’ families understand and accept the physical and emotional demands of the job, it helps Company morale. Whole families can be inspired by the firefighters’ unselfish service to their community and be equally committed to the cause.

We are blessed with caring families in our Company. We appreciate the many ways they support their parents, spouses, and siblings as firefighters because it is with their help that we can build a strong foundation for excellent fire protection.