■ Editor’s note: This is one in a series of feature stories concerning organizations that benefit the Imperial area. Volunteering in a community, through organizations, is a way to pay back for the benefits that the community offers an individual.
By Carolyn Lee
The Imperial Republican
When Imperial Volunteer Fire Department (IVFD) Chief Nick Schultz, or other members of the department, have attended fire school in Grand Island, they’ve noticed something special.
The IVFD has a great reputation in the state. It’s known for its dedication, training and professionalism. In addition, it’s one of the few volunteer departments in the state that has a waiting list for membership.
In its near 78-year history, IVFD has always been a volunteer organization. Until about 33 years ago, it was also combined with the ambulance service.
Membership is set at 35 maximum. Schultz said there are about six persons on the waiting list, with about one fireman replaced every year, usually due to relocation to another town.
To receive state certification of Firefighter One, a fireman must complete 100 hours of training. Even more training is required for the Firefighter Two designation.
Besides training in Grand Island, firemen have “lots of in-house training with officers and other members,” Schultz noted. There is also a three-hour practice once a month.
Those specializing in the dive/rescue team, Jaws of Life or rope rescue have additional training hours.
Schultz said that when he first interviewed for membership 33 years ago, “I wanted to give time back to the community. I soon discovered that you achieve a great feeling when you do something to help someone that not everyone is able to do.”
One large IVFD community project is the Fun Day during the Fourth of July town festivities.
“It’s a chance to give back,” Schultz said, and serves more people than the Fireman’s Ball IVFD used to hold.
Members also sponsor an annual fire prevention day with preschoolers and kindergartners in the area, as well as evening classes in fire prevention for fourth and fifth grade students.
Besides Schultz, line officers are Doug Mitchell, 1st Assistant Chief; Greg Koellner, 2nd Assistant Chief; Daryl Sharp, 1st Lieutenant; and Brad Wheeler, 2nd Lieutenant.
Dirk Hill is president, Craig Loeffler is vice president, Todd Burpo is treasurer, Josh Burke is secretary and Josh Moreno is sergeant-at-arms.
Schultz said the IVFD is a “proud, dedicated department.” Anyone wishing to join may contact any fireman.