Rick Nields was posthumously awarded 2017 Firefighter of the Year at the November 15, 2017 Thanksgiving Banquet. He passed away of a heart attack at age 55 on June 21, 2017. His wife Betty, son Randy, and daughter Jennifer accepted the award on his behalf from Chief Lonnie Kauffman.
When Rick was 16 years old in 1978, he became a member of the Fire Company. He served faithfully for the next 39 years. Since Dave Haldeman’s Garage and Jack Robinson’s Garage, the auto repair shops where he worked as a mechanic, were located in Bird-in-Hand, he was conveniently nearby to answer fire calls during the day.
Positions that Rick held were active firefighter, chief engineer, and serving on the Squad Committee. He was trained and qualified to drive the engine, tanker, and squad. Rick’s favorite task at the Fire Company was driving the tanker in the Mother’s Day convoy for Make-A-Wish. He took firemen’s hats and coloring books along to hand out to the children. For the child who rode in his truck, he always had a large stuffed animal as a memory of the special day.
Rick Nields was a compassionate, generous, and faithful firefighter. The Fire Company honors his memory with this award.
The Fireman of the Year is chosen through a peer nomination process.