Community,State Rallies Around Gordon Fire Department

By KBJR News 1

September 26, 2013 Updated Sep 26, 2013 at 5:11 PM CST

Gordon, WI (NNCNOW.com) --- Members of the Gordon Volunteer Fire Department are back on the job after a blaze ravaged their fire hall last week leaving behind more than one million dollars in damages.

"It's been a week and we actually have enough equipment that we can respond to calls," said Gordon Fire Chief Mike Chmielecki.

When Keith Tvight with Wisconsin Emergency Management heard of the fire, he jumped into action.

"I put over five hundred miles on going from fire department to fire department picking up resources that were donated to the Gordon Fire Department," said Tvight.

Tvight delivered necessities like portable pumps, ice rescue suits and water suits. A former fire chief himself, for Tvight the gesture is personal.

"I know the impact it has at the local level and my job is to help them rebuild," said Tvight.

Six vehicles, turn out gear, personal protective equipment and more were lost but Chief Chmielecki says donations have poured in and they have almost everything they need.

"It's unbelievable how quickly everything came together actually I would have never expected to see this much equipment show up in a short amount of time," said Chmielecki.

A bank account set up has raised more than three thousand dollars so far. Cathy Rose, owner of Buckhorn's Bar in Gordon helped raise another two thousand and is holding a fundraiser Friday to help out the firefighters who lost so much.

"Their always there when we need them, now they really need us," said Rose.

Rose says people have reached out to help, already rounding up 300 donations for a silent auction. She is expecting nearly 500 people to turn out for the fundraiser.

"If we only raise enough money to buy a couple of jackets, we'll have them. It's just some money for them to get through the period between now and insurance money," said Rose.

But for Chemelecki and the fire department, the support is humbling, and a role reversal they aren't entirely comfortable with....

"to be receiving help from other people, we're typically giving it to other people. It's different that's for sure," said Chmielecki.

But worth it for a department that has endured a devastating year.

The fundraiser will run from 4 to 8 p.m. on Friday night with food, live music, and a silent auction. The cost for a meal is $8. All proceeds will go to the volunteer fire department.

Written and posted to the web by Raeanna Marnati
rmarnati@kbjr.com