On Saturday August 2, 2014 Fire Station #5 on Cottage Grove Road opened its doors to the neighborhood. I am pleased to announce that the Firefighter Fun Day was an overwhelming success! Since taking over the position of Fire Chief, it has been a vision of mine to open the stations to the community as meeting places. The event that Station #5 hosted was a great example of place-making at its finest. The crew on the "A" shift played host to over 300 people from the neighborhood and city. People of all ages--from the very young to the very old--gathered for food and fun.
A special thank you goes out to our gracious hosts for the event. Lt. Johnny Winston Jr., AE Carri Holloway, FF Stephanie Clary, FF Paul Texidor, FF/PM Matt Murray, FF/PM Becky Blaschka, FF/PM Javier Font, Lt. Larry Grab, Lt. Mahlon Mitchell, FF Lori Karst, and many others who were heavily involved in the planning. The Town of Blooming Grove Fire and EMS Departments also took part, and were instrumental when Engine 5 got a call for service. Many thanks also to Dos Amigos DJ who provided music, Metro Market, Bimbo Bakeries, and Frito-Lay for donating food; to MPD Officer Henry & dog Boris for their time; to volunteer face painters Pat & Veronica; to balloon twister Doc the Rube; to YMCA on Cottage Grove Rd for the outdoor obstacle course, board games, & hula hoops; to Play Haven Child Care Center for the sidewalk chalk & crayons; to Amy & Jen & Retired Lt Tim Olson for their beanbag toss games; to Dream Lanes for the free bowling cards; to DB's gas station for the use of their parking spaces; to Culver's for free custard coupons; to the Chocolate Shoppe for ice cream coupons; to MFD Community Education Dept for the extra fire helmets, canopies, mascot, FF cutout, and press release; to Madison Mayoral Candidate Bridget Maniaci for visiting; and to the volunteers and committee members who came early & stayed late to help with the workload.
The event on Saturday really showcased the community's desire to have a place to gather, eat, and enjoy each other's company. The Fire Stations in our community are great locations for this type of social event to occur. Accessibility to our public facilities, getting to know the responders before they respond, and meeting each other as community members are important parts of an involved and engaged community. Based on the success and level of involvement that we saw on Saturday, I am excited about having more of these types of events in the future.
Steve A. Davis