Osseo Fire Department seeks volunteers

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OSSEO, Wis. (WEAU) -- A Local Fire Department is now using social media to recruit new volunteer firefighters.

The post on the department’s facebook page says “We’re looking for some great people.”

Fire Chief Nels Gunderson says the state of economy affected volunteerism all over the country in recent years. He says not having help for the fire department could really put the community at risk.

Kari Steen joined the department in 2000 as a dispatcher. 13 years later she is still there, but now as a volunteer first-responder.

“I saw the need, I could hear the calls, but I had no training,” said Steen.

“As long as they're trying to upgrade themselves we pay for the training. They try to volunteer the time to take the classes and put things together,” said Gunderson about training his fire and first-responder staff.

Steen says at first she was afraid she might not finish first-responder training, but she said; fear aside, if she could do it, anyone else can.

“I went through the training like a breeze. You just put your mind to it, and get it done,” said Steen.

Wally Neumann of Strum, says he had to call the department because of a fire on his property several years ago.

“I was really impressed. They got there quickly; they did an excellent job. What really impressed me was that these guys were really trained well. I thought for volunteers it could be difficult but they knew exactly what to do,” said Neumann.

“It makes you feel good, you help someone. Some calls are good, then you have tough calls and they're hard on you, but it just makes you feel good to help people,” said Steen about her experience.

Gunderson says all his volunteers get one paycheck per year. There are more than 50-people in the department, and only four positions are fully paid. Still, he says they get much more, in terms of gratitude from the community.

“I don't know what they get compensated but it certainly isn't enough,” said Neumann, thanking the volunteers for their work.

“It's not for the money; it's not for the ride with red lights and a siren. When you help somebody and you see that happen, that's why we're here; that's why everybody is here,” added Gunderson.

The department says volunteers don't have to live in town, but its preference is for people who live near Osseo.

Gunderson says the facebook post is all about getting the word out to as many people as possible.

If you’re interested in volunteering visit click here.

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