Fire call delays local firefighters? annual celebration

Volunteer firefighters never know when they will be called away from scheduled events and family gatherings. For Members of the Hillsboro Fire Depart?ment last Wednesday, the call to Lehigh came about an hour and a half before their own annual awards dinner at city hall.

The Hillsboro Fire Department?s ?Firefighter Apprecia?tion Banquet,? planned for 6 p.m., was put on hold until 7:30 p.m. after the volunteers returned from their fire run in Lehigh.

?I thought it was kind of interesting that it was interrupted by a major structure fire,? Fire Chief Ben Steketee said with a chuckle. ?The mayor was scheduled to say a few words, so she had to wait for her supper as well?and she was more than willing to do that.?

Mayor Delores Dalke said of the delay, ?It?s a good illustration of what our fire volunteers do, how many times they have to miss things, or run out even when there?s family things going on.

?I think it?s amazing what those people do,? she added. ?On Wednesday nights they go for drills, then they?re always ready to go when a call comes in. This time it was their own Christmas party.?

The meal, catered by Panhandlers of Hillsboro, was kept warm during the interlude and was still ?delicious? when the firefighters finally got to eat it, Steketee said.

And the meeting after the meal went well, too.

?Actually, it was a little more relaxed than usual,? Steketee said. ?Most of us had planned to be more prepared for the meeting, but we just kind of had to wing it because some last-minute preparations?that oftentimes are the most critical?just didn?t get made.

?But it went off without a hitch.?

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