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Boreal Community Media

Hovland community shows strong support for Volunteer Fire Department

Oct 02, 2019 08:37PM ● By Editor
All photos: Boreal Community Media

From Boreal Community Media - October 2, 2019

The Hovland Volunteer Fire Department (VFD) welcomed residents to the Hovland Town Hall on Wednesday evening.  A pot luck dinner was served to the big crowd and the Fire Department volunteers gave the community an update on the past year's activities.

Hovland Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Chief Terry Spieker

Assistant Fire Chief Terry Spieker welcomed participants who turned out for the annual program saying "this crowd is amazing turn-out."

In reviewing the past year, Spieker call the year relative quiet and "quiet is a good thing."  The Hovland responded to five fire calls and five medical calls.  He credited residents for taking care to avoid incidents by keeping fireplaces and chimneys clean saying "not taking the right precautions can lead to catastrophic things."  

Spieker explained the the department is divided into to three groups, the Fire Department, Emergency Response and the STOP program.  "But we are a small group of volunteers where people wear a lot of different hats," said Spieker.  He made a call for new volunteers and said that the Department is always looking for people regardless of their skills or experience saying "we will train you, we are good at that."

Department Treasurer Beth Ambrosen reported that the annual Department Budget is $80,000 allocated by Cook County.  She said the primary expenses are vehicle maintenance, liability insurance and slowly funding the building fund for a proposed new Hovland Fire Hall. Volunteers may receive a small year-end stipend based on their participation in incidents and training.  And she said, "Donations are accepted and always welcome."

Communications specialist John Barton gave an update on cell service in the Hovland area and improvements that are being made by CenturyLink to provide back-up for the 911 system.  STOP Captain Kerry Leeds says their group of nine volunteers responded to 22 emergency call outs with a total of 175 hours of volunteer time.  Ambrosen returned to the stage with a Search and Rescue update and thanked one Hovland resident for making a generous donation to purchase a Stokes Basket and Mule Wheel for the Search and Rescure team.  Both devices can be back-packed into an incident requiring a carry-out.  She also said finding a person in need of help is the biggest challenge and promoted the Find Me SAR cell phone app which can locate a person without need for cell service.  You can learn more by following this link.

Mike Keyport addressed the audience.

Finally Spieker introduced the new Director of Emergency Management for Cook County Mike Keyport.  Joining the County team in September, Keyport was previously in charge of Emergency management for the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.  A great grandson of the legendary John Beargrease, Keyport has served as Emergency Management manager for Grand Portage for the past 8 years.