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Dickinson hosts annual ND firefighter convention

Hundreds of firefighters are roaming the streets of Dickinson this weekend, not to put out fires or rescue anyone. Instead, they are in town for fellowship and learning as part of the 133rd annual North Dakota Firefighters Association state conve...

As the name of each deceased firefighter was read out, a candle was lit and a single bell toll rang for each person. (Sydney Mook / The Dickinson Press)
As the name of each deceased firefighter was read out, a candle was lit and a single bell toll rang for each person. (Sydney Mook / The Dickinson Press)

Hundreds of firefighters are roaming the streets of Dickinson this weekend, not to put out fires or rescue anyone. Instead, they are in town for fellowship and learning as part of the 133rd annual North Dakota Firefighters Association state convention.

Each year a different city has the opportunity to host the convention, which brings together around 200 to 300 firefighters each year. The convention was last held in Dickinson in 2009.

Dickinson Volunteer Fire Department Capt. Dusty Grosulak said while putting together the convention is a lot of work, he and the department are happy to be able to host the event.

"It's an honor to host it in Dickinson," he said. "It's a lot of work for our department, but it's definitely fun and rewarding at the end."

Mayor Scott Decker spoke about the importance of fire and rescue workers, especially as the state continues to grow. At one time Decker said he had considered becoming a firefighter, instead he followed his calling to be a soldier. However, he said firefighters do a job others are not willing to do, an important job that no one can ever thank them enough for.

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"Every day as firefighters, you affect someone's life," he told the group of firefighters. "... Your courage, your patience and your willingness to run toward danger, rather than away from dangers matter. The look on a child's face when a fire truck pulls up at their school and they get to talk to a local hero, it matters to them."

Dickinson Police Chief Dustin Dassinger noted the importance of public safety and the ways that firefighters help communities.

"Public safety is very challenging, the relationship between police, fire and EMS is very important, especially in the state of North Dakota" he said. "I want to thank you guys for what you do."

U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., also spoke at the event.

As a part of the general session, the convention held a memorial for all the firefighters in the state who died over the past year, including Colt Allery, a member of the St. John Fire Protection District and a 29-year-old Rolette County sheriff's deputy who was fatally shot in the line of duty in January.

As each name was read out a candle was lit and a single bell toll was rang for each person. After all the names were read the Rapid City Professional Firefighters Pipe and Drum Corps. played Amazing Grace to end the service.

Grosulak said it is nice for firefighters from across the state to be able to get together.
"It's a good weekend of fellowship, fun, reuniting with firefighters from across the state," he said. "You see a lot of new faces, a lot of the same faces. It's a fun weekend."

Related Topics: DICKINSON
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