Having dedicated nearly 5,000 hours to the community in the last year, the 45 Neligh Volunteer Firefighters were recognized Saturday night at their annual banquet.
Members recognized for their service, which totals 245 years of service were
5 Years - Jake Sladky
15 Years - Jake Schwarting
20 Years - Jeff Hixson, Jeff Krebs, Dave Jacobsen
25 Years - Steve Arehart
30 Years - Curt Madsen, Steve Schwarting,
35 Years - Don Zegers, Dennis Schwager
Four firefighters were honored for completing Firefighter 1 certification of 120 hours of training, including hazmat training. They were Jake Sladky, Cris Kurpjuweit, Nick Krohn and Bryan Hohnholt.
Deputy State Fire Marshal Bill Pfeifer was presented a framed photo from the department taken during the five-building controlled burn. It read, "The best thing an old firefighter can teach a young firefighter is how to be an old firefighter."
Chief Mike Mortensen was recognized with the Mert Marshall Ax Award, given for a goof-up that year.
Mortensen said the department spent 4,875 hours training and fighting fires, although he suspects even more time was volunteered but not documented. That's 1,978 hours of training and 2,897 hours on calls.
The Neligh firefighters averaged 108 hours each on training and fighting fires. Their average response time was just 2 minutes, 11 seconds.
In the last year, the department had 56 total calls, including three house fires (Knievel, Voborny Blecker), seven building fires, nine wildfires and six EMS assisted calls.
The department raises funds throughout the year to upgrade equipment and professional development. Of those funds, $14,200 was spent on training and equipment.