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The Orchard fire department honored a firefighter for more than six decades of service on Saturday night.
During the annual award ceremony, Royal and Orchard Fire and Rescue Departments came together to celebrate another year of hard work and honor those who’ve reached milestones in the departments.
The program was emceed by Joshua Stelling, who’s been serving on the fire department for 18 years.
An annual tradition, this year Orchard had the opportunity to extend an extra special award. Marvin Haswell, an Orchard firefighter, celebrated 65 years with the department this year.
Haswell joined the department in 1951, and even though in the past few years it’s been harder to fight fires, he’s always ready to respond with the whistle sounds.
“We got a plaque for Marvin,” said Stelling when introducing the award. “Marvin has been on our department since 1951 — 65 years.”
According to Stelling, Haswell has always been ready to do whatever necessary in helping during a rescue call. In fact, not too long ago he jumped behind the wheel of an ambulance when no one else was available.
“I don’t remember if it was one of the rescue calls,” remembered Stelling, “but there just wasn’t enough people here and they loaded her up. I think (Larry) Mieras was one of the EMTs and Mieras said, ‘Well, we need a driver,’ and Marvin said, ‘Well, I can take her.’ And Marvin just hopped in this new ambulance, which I’m sure isn’t like the one you started with, but he headed her to O’Neill.”
Haswell affirmed the story was true and said that although he’s not much for climbing ladders anymore, he’ll continue to responding to the whistle.
“I have a lot of bad memories and I have a lot of good memories,” said Haswell, “but it’s good to be needed, and I’ll still go if the whistle blows and I’ll flag traffic. I’m not much for climbing ladders or going up on the roof anymore.”
In addition to the plaque awarded from the Orchard fire department, they also gifted Haswell with an engraved watch stating his 65 years of service. The State Fire Marshal’s office also sent an award marking Haswell’s long-term dedication.
“I think Marvin was telling the story the other day down at the coffee shop that the last award he got. He said when the fire marshall gave it to him he said, ‘I don’t know that I’ve ever seen that high of a number up there on the plaque from the state fire marshall,’ ” Stelling said
During the award ceremony, various people were honored for their service. Kathy Belik was honored for 30 years in service. She is an EMT and the treasurer. Dean Holiday and Larry Mieras were both honored for 30 years of service as EMTs as well.
Irene Risinger, the assistant rescue chief and secretary, was honored for 35 years in service as an EMT.
Curt Mitteis also received a plaque for 35 years total. Stelling referred to Mitteis as being “inherited,” since he served in Royal before moving to Orchard.
The Royal and Orchard departments have a history of working closely together, with Royal assisting Orchard as mutual aid on nearly every fire call.
“Royal comes to every fire call, and they help on a lot of the rescue calls that we’re on,” said Stelling. “They’re considered mutual aid on everything.”
In total, the Orchard fire department responded to 16 calls this years. The estimated damage loss for the year was $81,224. On average, the trucks were out for 3 hours on each call, and the paperwork took 14 hours. For the rescue department, they responded to 34 calls and the paperwork took 26 hours.
In the past year, the Orchard fire department has given mutual aid to Brunswick two times.
They received mutual aid from Royal 11 times, from Ewing twice and from Brunswick, Creighton and Neligh one time each.