The Wesley Fire Department is comprised of an eighteen member team of volunteers. The community center structure houses the department with four bays in the back for the housing of the equipment and vehicles.
The fire department is lead by a chief, assistant chief and three captains. The department participates in extensive training and over 40 hours of training is completed each year. They are trained in HazMat, Incident Command and Search and Rescue. They meet monthly for training and a business meeting. The department has their own Rescue Truck with Jaws of Life.
Wesley Fire Department Photos Taken By Joella Leider
This is Tracy Studer, Wesley Fire Chief, and I was asked to write this month about our organization. We are a 21-member department. Our members are (years on department in parenthesis):
Chief Tracy Studer (18), Assistant Chief Jerry Reding (34), Treasurer Brad Tegtmeyer (15) Secretary David Reding (10), Craig Larson (36), Jim Otis (30), John Rasmussen (28), Ted Krieps (25), Tom Loebig (25), Alex Eischen (22), Joe Thilges (21), Andy Grein (20), Steve Rosenmeyer (16), Mat Kirsch (12), Vahn Schumacher (10), Zach Nielsen (10), Clay Riedesel (7), Brady Otis (6), Nick Kirsch (5), Levi Studer (2), and Adam Hamilton(1). Last March, 19- year member Lance Ludwig retired from the department.
Our fleet currently contains two pumpers, one tanker, and one rescue truck. We have both a low-pressure and a high-pressure jaws of life which we use at vehicle accidents. Our most recent acquisition is a set of state of the art lifting bags that use the air in our SCBA tanks to raise and lower the bags which can be deployed in the event someone is trapped or pinned beneath a heavy object, such as at a vehicle accident or due to a natural disaster.
The Wesley Fire Department is one of the very last private fire companies left in the state of Iowa. We are not a city- controlled entity, rather the city contracts us to perform fire and emergency services for the city. We are also the sole provider of these services for Wesley Township. We also cover portions of Prairie Township in Kossuth County, and Boone and Orthel Townships in Hancock County. Every February we host our Firemen’s Steak Fry as our major fundraiser, and have been fortunate to have had excellent support, not only from Wesley residents, but from neighboring towns as well.
The Wesley Fire Department was organized in December 1908, because a fire had swept down main street that year, destroying many of the buildings. Ten members signed on as charter firemen. Seth E Benson, the owner of an ice business in town was voted fire chief for the initial year. Six more members signed on in 1909. The initial fire apparatus was a hose cart that was pulled to the fire scene by the firemen, and they were able to supply water to the house by pumping out of an underground well.
In our 100+ years of existence, over 150 men have been members of the organization. The longest-serving member was Lester Lease, who served an astonishing 52 years. Marty Hamilton is second on the list at 42 years of service, active member Craig Larson is third with 36 years, and current member Jerry Reding is fourth at 34 years, in a tie with former fireman Harold Weber.
Thank you for taking the time to read about us, and for the City for giving me the opportunity share our story with you.