This past year has brought major tragedies to our close-knit community. It was a year in which Bird-in-Hand area residents reached out to each other in special ways to fight major fires and a worldwide pandemic, and to care for each other through serious injuries and losses.
This type of caring and sharing is a tradition among us. Over the years, the Fire Company has benefited from the support of neighbors. According to Glen Siegrist, many of the local farmers donated money before there were annual Fire Company fund drives or Fire Company fundraisers. He recounts, “I remember my father saying, ‘Let’s help.’ There was a need there so the farmers pitched in, knowing that the firefighters would work hard to put out any barn fires in the area.”
The late Dave Haldeman told the story of when the first truck was purchased for $3,500. He recalled, “It became known to the community that the Fire Company needed money, so they helped pay for that truck. And after that, the support grew. The community helped pay for the next truck, which cost $11,000.”
This caring is definitely a two-way street. Over the years, the Fire Company has given back to the community. Les Fazekas remembers helping to rebuild Manny Fisher’s cabinet shop on North Ronks Road after it had burned down. When Elmer Glick was president of the Fire Company in the 1980s, he became ill. Firefighters put a new roof on his house, also located on North Ronks Road, donating their time and labor.
There are many stories of acts of kindness. When Les’ sons were young, he was called to active military service at various times and was gone from home, even overseas during the Gulf War. One day when Les was gone, one of the boys got stuck in a ladder. Les’ wife Barbara, who was pregnant at the time, felt helpless. She called the Bird-in-Hand Restaurant and asked if any firefighters happened to be eating there at the counter. Restaurant Manager Wilmer Lapp was a firefighter and responded immediately. He soon had the boy freed.
The name of our Fire Company is “Hand-in-Hand” and that is exactly how we strive to live life in the town of Bird-in-Hand.