Mandan Rural Fire Department celebrates 60 years

Published: Aug. 13, 2022 at 7:42 PM CDT
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MANDAN, N.D. (KFYR) - Mandan Rural Fire Department is celebrating its 60th year being open. The volunteer firefighters have been serving the eastern half of Morton County since 1962.

Don Friesz has been volunteering for 50 years and is just one of the many firefighters that have found their second family at the fire department.

“My body will probably tell me when to quit, you know, but right now, my health is good. I just keep on doing it, and you know it’s a part of me,” said volunteer Don Friesz.

To celebrate, they invited the Bismarck-Mandan community to enjoy hotdogs, a bouncy house, fire truck rides, and much more. The 35 volunteer firefighters also brought out the firehouse to give kids a fire simulation game.

“While I’ve been here 27 years now, and I guess it was just that, and we have a question on our application why do you want to join help the community, your neighbors, your friends and make a difference,” said Mandan Rural Fire Chief Lynn Gustin.

Shana Geiger said she joined the department a few months ago because her partner is a volunteer.

“I think anybody can do it. Male, female, or anybody can do it as long as you have the passion and the drive to do it,” said Shana Geiger, volunteer firefighter.

The shared comradery between the firefighters extends beyond the fire stations and firetrucks.

“You know, having another family outside of the family, and you know, hanging out with the guys and girls after, stuff like that,” said volunteer firefighter Jacob Leingang.

Chief Gustin said they have a junior firefighter program for anyone 16 years or older. Some of the volunteers just can’t get enough of lending a helping hand when the community is in need.

The Rural Fire Department team has one station located in Mandan and one in Saint Anthony, responding to calls of distress covering 725 square miles of rural areas in North Dakota.

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