By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
Recognition for service and longevity on the department highlighted the annual Imperial Volunteer Fire Department (IVFD) awards night Saturday.
Just over 50 IVFD members, their guests and others were served the meal and witnessed those presented awards at St. Patrick Parish Hall.
Kelsey Weiss and Dirk Hill were selected by their fellow firefighters as Bob Allen Memorial Firemen of the Year. A special “honorary” Fireman of the Year was chosen this year, Dustin Holmes, who was also present Saturday night after first being given the award at a celebration held last month at Chase County Schools, where he is a senior.
Also earning awards on IVFD member votes were Kelsey Weiss, Lineman of the Year; Kenny Schilke, Driver of the Year; and Doug Mitchell, Officer of the Year.
Aaron Greene and Skip Kelley shared the Francis Nichols Memorial Attendance Award for being present at the most meetings and practices. Greene also collected the Francis Nichols Memorial Training Award for having the most training hours in the department at more than 100.
T-shirts were presented to the 10 IVFD members who responded to the most fire calls the past year—Doug Mitchell, Brad Wheeler, Tyler Vlasin, Nick Schultz, Josh Moreno, Aaron Greene, Dirk Hill, Duane Todd, Skip Kelley and Kelsey Weiss.
Recognized for years of service to the IVFD were Josh Burke and Kyle Hansen, five years; Kenny Schilke, Brad Dillan, Aaron Greene and Kelsey Weiss, 10 years; Troy Space, 15 years; and Earl Loop and Duane Todd, 25 years.
The event wouldn’t be complete without some humor.
Receiving the department’s “Blooper” awards were Daryl Sharp, Brad Dillan, John Schilke and Nick Schultz.
Fire Chief Schultz welcomed the group and greeted the special guests attending, which included several retired IVFD firefighters and spouses, council member Dave Fulton and wife Patty and Keith Wood, a rural fire board member and his wife Barbara. Also present were wives of deceased members.
Schultz noted the contribution of the rural board and taxpayers who support the department with dollars, but also noted the retired firefighters “who set a example for us.”
He said without everyone working together, “we wouldn’t be where we are today.”
He noted it’s not only area residents who recognize and respect the IVFD.
“We are well known statewide,” he said.