First responders risk their lives every day to keep us safe: battling fires, time away from family and witnessing gruesome events can all take a toll on them. But one group in Garrison says working with people that you know and trust makes it much better.
“It’s a unique brotherhood,” said Garrison Fire Chief Bruce Schreiner.
Schreiner has been with the Garrison Fire Department since 1984 and has been the fire chief since 1993. He says over the years things have changed, like equipment and techniques, but he says there has always been one constant.
“It takes a lot of dedication. You got to be able and willing to leave work during the day or get up in the middle of the night and leave your family,” added Schreiner.
The fire department is made up of 40 members — all volunteers. Schneider says that shows just how dedicated his team is.
He added, “I can remember times when we had to leave our families to fend for themselves, so we could do our jobs for the community.”
And they aren’t alone. Just a few steps away from the fire department is the Garrison Police Department.
The newly formed force is now staffed with five officers and the two work hand-in-hand.
“It’s a great working environment. Every once in a while someone may wander out in the snow from a nursing home, and I will call them and we will all get coordinated together and go looking. You know, stop traffic for them,” said Police Chief Travis Tesch.
Mayor Stu Merry says every city has first responders, but the two groups in Garrison are more than that — they are part of the community.
Merry said, “Law enforcement, fire protection, ambulance service — that involves people, bodies, volunteers. People who are willing to give their time and services for the protection of the community.”
The group of men and women say they live different lives and all come from different backgrounds, but there is that one common denominator: to protect and serve.
Schreiner added, “They don’t have many relationships during the day but as soon as the pager goes off, we become a family and we look out for each other and protect each other and it’s just a unique situation.”
And for all of their hard work, we rewarded them with some much deserved food.
With plenty of sandwiches, reporter PJ Walker had the chance to chat about what the police and fire departments do for the community every day, and what they give up to do it.
After spending time with them, PJ says it’s clear this job requires a lot of heart, and even when they get calls at any hour it’s a job they say they love.
Thank you to the men and women who serve and protect the city of Garrison and surrounding areas.