After three-year lapse, GRFD holds honors banquet

Linda Trest
Staff Writer

Last Saturday, the Gerald-Rosebud Fire Department held, what was once, their annual awards banquet. The last banquet was held in 2015, but after Warren Weiss was appointed fire chief he vowed to reinstate the popular dinner and ceremony. 

Current and retired firefighters, their spouses family and friends met at the Knights of Columbus Hall to enjoy a catered dinner and drinks. Chief Weiss then acted as emcee for the ceremony portion of the evening. 

A wall in the main fire station is filled with plaques honoring fireman who have died. Four new plaques were presented for the Wall of Honor. They were in remembrance of Bob
Wehmeyer, Darren Wright, Matthew “Gomer” Piles and Amil Limberg.

Five men who have retired from the department were presented with keepsake helmets. Those men and their years of service were: Jim Sneddy, 37 years; Orlan Schulte, 40 years; John Zelch, 32 years; Darren McCurry, 20 years; and Tobey Keith, 14 years.

Roger Flamion, a retired fireman and past member of the district’s board of directors made an observation that the spouses present should also be honored for their support of the firemen. 

Flamion then spoke of the late Vernon Wehmeyer who was the last chief of the Gerald Volunteer Fire Department, before it merged with the Rosebud department in 1981.

Flamion credited Wehmeyer with urging the department to modernize, particularly in the area of training. Wehmeyer could see that fireman, even on small unpaid departments, would need to become highly trained in order to be effective. 

Nathan Boone was on hand to represent the Gerald-Rosebud Fire Protection District’s board of directors. 

Greg Landwehr, former member of the department and now with the State Fire Marshall’s Office also addressed the group. 

Individual awards for 2016, 2017 and 2018 were presented. 

Weiss noted that now that the banquet had been reinstated he would make sure it happened again every year.