Christian 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.
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.
Meet @ Fire Hall
Town Cleanup Day was started as one local Boy Scout’s project with a few community people helping him. The first year three dump truck loads were hauled away because, except for six inches at the edge, the sidewalks were covered with grass and weeds. The cleanup was a big part of the preparation for the 250th Anniversary of Bird-in-Hand in 1984. Under Dan Fisher’s leadership, the Fire Company assumed responsibility for coordinating this task in 1985.
The starting place is at the Fire Hall and the crews work their way through town to Maple Avenue. They make sure the railroad underpass, stairways, and sidewalks are clean for another year and enjoy coffee and doughnuts at the Fire Hall when they are finished.