22 Firefighters Welcomed and Honored

Posted 5/23/24

The dedication of members of the Hastings Fire Department was honored Saturday morning at a ceremony for badging of new members and celebrating promotions and service. Mayor Mary Fasbender credited …

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22 Firefighters Welcomed and Honored

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The dedication of members of the Hastings Fire Department was honored Saturday morning at a ceremony for badging of new members and celebrating promotions and service.
Mayor Mary Fasbender credited the hard working department members.
“We don’t say enough about our fire department, but they are truly amazing. I’m so proud of their service on a daily basis. Our Hastings Fire Department serves the larges area in the metro, with 160 square miles. They work collaboratively with our mutual aid partners to respond to all types of calls,” she said.
In the growing community, the department is even more important.
“As the city grows, our need for public safety expands, with increasing calls for service,” she said, noting that department call volume increase 8.5% last year, with 3,300 EMS calls and more than 750 fire calls.
Twenty-two new firefighters were “badged” at the ceremony.
“We are appreciative today to be able to support this department and welcome 22 new additions to this incredible team. We also are here to applaud years of service for a few of them. Badging is an important day to honor these individuals. I’d also like to recognize the spouses, partners and families for your support and allowing them to do their daily service for this great community,” said Fasbender. “The leadership team in this department leads with compassion. Their knowledge and integrity are amazing, today and every day. We appreciate and thank this Department of Public Safety for serving this community. They are our heroes on a daily basis,” said Fasbender.
Fire Chief John Townsend explained the significance of the ceremony.
“We’re here to recognize these staff members, and their badging and oath to serve our community. Each of these individuals will be issued a badge today. These badges represent our commitment to serve each other and the community. The badges look the same with one exception. They’re all numbered. These numbers represent each of these individuals. They will carry tis number with them through their entire career here, and they will be the last person to wear that number,” said Townsend. “Just as they carry that, they carry the responsibility and the gift of serving this community and each other.”
Townsend said he sent a questionnaire to the newly badged and found they each took a unique route that led to the HFD.
“There’s an awfully wide variety of experiences and paths to becoming a firefighter for the City of Hastings,” he said, noting there are some with medical fire experience, there is one with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry, one with a Doctorate in Toxicology, as well as a combat medic, mechanics, a mill operator and a former police officer.
“We had staff that were born and raised in Hastings, and we had staff that came from as far away as Texas,” said Townsend. “It was amazing to reflect on this wide variety of people who have had this call to serve. How fortune we are to have such a diverse group of people coming together for the common goal of serving the community.”
The new members also remarked on the importance of service the community, camaraderie and teamwork, as well as growing with the job and serving such a large area. And then there was a fun response or two.
“When we hire new full-time staff, they come in everyday, but the three shifts don’t work every day, so they serve burgers, beans and chips every day. We have two new student staff who just got done with their two weeks of burgers, beans and chips. Fortunately for me, I am here every day, as is (Assistant Chief) Chris Paulson. We love burgers, beans and chips. So, it’s a win for us,” Townsend said to laughter. “I’m pretty sure some of our full time staff at the end of the two weeks have had enough burgers, beans and chips.”
He said one new member talked about “interesting relationship advice” learned at the station.
“If you’ve ever spent any down time here, the table over there is a kind of a place for our staff to hand out, sort of decompress after a call, get to know each other, spend time with each other,” said Townsend. “That table is also the place where everybody imports wisdom upon the rest of us, whether we want it or not. I thought that one was a pretty good example of types of things that go on when we’re not busy doing our calls.”