Firefighter of the Year is chosen through a peer-nominated process, and two more have been added to the list in this long tradition. Daniel Beiler in 2021, and Jerry Petershiem in 2022.
Firefighter of the Year 2021: Daniel Beiler first joined the fire service at age 18. He was working at Carriage Machine Shop and would see some of his coworkers run out to respond to a call. His dad was a member when Daniel was a young child, and Daniel had always thought about becoming a firefighter one day. Being a Bird-in-Hand local, he has been a part of many calls since joining and finds the community aspect most rewarding. “The best part is being there for someone in their time of need, and helping the community.” Daniel has also inspired two of his brothers to join the fire service (ages 15 & 21). He was appointed as Third Lieutenant in January 2022. “It’s a great way to interact with the community and make new friends.”
Firefighter of the Year 2022: Jerry Petersheim started attending and helping out at Fire Company events at a young age. He applied to join the Fire Company at age 14. Beyond many role models in his family being actively involved at Hand-in-Hand, Jerry said he was initially drawn to the lights and sirens. It was a way a young boy could be “destructive,” and it was allowed. A year later at age 15, the weight of responsibility hit him, and he realized the community importance of being involved with the Fire Company. “It is a good way to keep you out of trouble.” There was a two-year period where Jerry was less involved, but he always wanted to come back. “There’s just more community here, and the open dialogue shows that we really care about what the community has to say, and how we can serve them better.” Jerry enjoys serving on various committees including Organization & Response (a Human Resources subcommittee). He continues to learn more and more about the Fire Company’s equipment and its capabilities as he helps the New Engine Committee research and purchase a new engine.