The Dickinson Fire Department hosted its Annual Awards and Appreciation Night last weekend, where five firefighters were recognized for their years of service.
"When we do these awards ceremonies, they are all encompassing," Deb Barros, assistant chief with the Dickinson Fire Department, said. "Whether volunteer or full time, we recognize the years of service to the department put in by our firefighters."
According to Barros, the department honors their firefighters because they understand the havoc that come with such a busy schedule. In total, firefighters at the department completed a combined total of 5,248 hours of training in 2018, with more than 145 public education efforts hosted through community events.
"That's why we have appreciation days for them, because it's important," Barros said. "For all the blood, sweat and tears, for all the disrupted or missed events with family, for the continued professionalism, it's nice to just say thank you."
Fire Chief Bob Sivak's four decades of service and sacrifice were specifically recognized as few successfully reach such a long tenure in a demanding profession like firefighting. Sivak, a certified firefighter II, has served in numerous capacities within the department and was presented with a certificate and his eighth five-year service pin for contributions to keeping Dickinson safe.
The long history of public service under his trusted firefighter's helmet began as a volunteer firefighter in September 1978. After four years of service, Sivak became a full-time firefighter in October of 1982 and has remained with the department ever since. Initially tasked to be the Dickinson fire inspector, Sivak became a full-time captain with the department in 1987 and eventually fire chief in 2006-a position he holds today.
Also honored at the event was Fire Marshal Mark Selle, whose 15-year career was individually recognized with a certificate in honor of his contributions and his third five-year service pin.
Selle, a certified firefighter II and fire service instructor II, joined the department as a volunteer in March of 2004 and became a full-time firefighter in June of 2006. Promoted to fire inspector in July of 2009 and fire marshal in February of 2016. Selle currently serves as squad leader for the auto-extrication unit.
Next honored was Dustin Grosulak. A certified firefighter II and fire service instructor I, Grosulak was honored for his 15 years of service with a certificate and his third five-year service pin.
Grosulak joined in July of 2003 and remains a volunteer firefighter to this day-quite the feat, as his full-time job as a safety expert with Bruin E&P Partner, LLC is demanding in and of itself.
Also honored during the appreciation banquet was Dustin Hofer, who received a certificate and his first five-year service pin. A certified firefighter II and fire service instructor I, Hofer holds the current position of lieutenant of "B Shift."
Hofer joined the department as a volunteer in November of 2013 and became a full-time firefighter in July of 2014.
The final honoree was Kyle MacIntosch. A certified firefighter II and fire service Instructor I, MacIntosch was honored for five years of service with a certificate and his first five-year service pin.
MacIntosch joined the department as a volunteer in December of 2013 and became a full-time firefighter in January of 2016, where he currently serves with "C Shift."
"The scope of what is being demanded of firefighters across the country continues to increase with each passing year," Barros said. "With that increase comes the added pressures of being proficient with the various responsibilities we have. The fire service, for the most part, are now responsible for more than just putting out fires. We handle EMS, hazardous materials, auto-extractions and now we're being called if a trench collapses and somebody is stuck."
Barros added, "So I think our job is so much more encompassing than it was in years past, and the public expects us to be professional in each of those areas-hence our training is much more challenging and the demands are much more for our firefighters."
For the men and women of the Dickinson Fire Department, the increased workloads and challenging training that take away from family time and leisure are just necessary aspects of keeping the public safe.
"With a 125-year history in this community, the Dickinson Fire Department are proud of the community members who have helping ensure that where we live and work is protected to the best of our ability," Barros said. "Our mission is to provide quality fire services through community partnerships and education while investing in the betterment of our members. We'll continue doing just that."