Unmasking Our Heroes

Town of Vinland Fire Dept

There is an old adage about a house or home telling much about the family that lives there. So what does a firehouse tell one about the family of firefighters that resides there?

We had the pleasure to visit the Town of Vinland Fire Station to photograph their newly purchased vehicle, (a Spartan Chassis with a truck body built by Custom Fab and Body, LLC in Marion, Wis.). As a young firefighter moved the trucks out of the station for us, we had an opportunity to take a look around. As colorful as those bright red trucks seemed, so did some of the history of the station and of the men and women who proudly serve their community.

Why are fire trucks typically bright red? They explained to us that, when cars first appeared on the roads, they were all generally black. To help clear the roads in an emergency, fire engines were painted bright red so that they would visibly stand out.

As we continued our walk-through, a handmade wooden duty roster caught our eyes. The wooden template with hand-carved names represents a long-time tradition of many years of experience and service to the Town of Vinland.  

Next, we witnessed the roster in their commons area and various sports trophies, which visibly represent the teamwork and camaraderie that they share with the surrounding communities.

On a large dry-erase board were remnants of what we call the Glascow Coma Score, a neurological scale which provides an objective way of recording a person’s level of consciousness. You can never be too prepared. Being a first responder or firefighter involves great focus on technical skills along with proactive-based learning.

Just before the trucks parked, we came across bundles of used fire coats and pants neatly piled next to boxes of fire-boots and helmets. They explained they were on their way to their new home in Nicaragua, a donation through the Wisconsin/Nicaraguan Partners of the Americas program.   

The new fire engine was beautiful, but what stood out to us the most was the department’s values and history displayed throughout the firehouse. Home is not where you live, but rather where you are understood. This experience gave us all an understanding of the 24/7 dedication, sacrifice and commitment essential to become one of America’s heroes.