Made up of local citizens who are ready to serve their rural community in case of emergencies, the Amidon Fire Department is comprised of about 13 volunteers and some very quick responding neighbors. Under the direction of Chief Dick Frederick, the fire department started with a couple little trucks and has blossomed into eight larger duty trucks that are well equipped to handle most everything.
Chief Frederick who has been a member since the 1970’s and took over as chief in 1991 says, “We are predominately wild land fire fighters. We are equipped to handle vehicles or structures, but usually by the time we get to the structure we are way behind the curve. We are trained to handle most anything.” The department covers 450 square miles all with varied terrain from the badlands to grains to grassland. They also provide mutual aid to the neighboring fire departments. Chief Frederick states how the majority of the fires they fight are started predominately by lightning, followed next by a few agricultural or machinery fires each year. Frederick discloses that they also have a quick response unit that responds to medical calls for such things as car accidents.
Because the Amidon Fire Department is volunteer ran, they rely on community support to assist with the things they need to keep their doors open. That support, throughout the better part of the past decade, has come mostly in the form of their Burgers & Brats Rally they hold each year during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota. Lasting nine days in duration each and every year, it is their biggest fundraiser. Dakota Community Bank & Trust (DCB&T) has been one community partner year after year that helps assist either monetarily or with volunteer hours. “Dakota Community Bank & Trust has helped us out with donations, cups, napkins as well as burgers and brats. They (DCB&T) are good at sending people up to help us during the Burger and Brat Rally,” mentions Chief Frederick. “It shows us that Dakota Community Bank & Trust is very caring and is more than willing to go the extra mile to support things such as fire departments.”
The fundraising event starts at about 10am each day and runs until everyone leaves which is usually around 9 or 10pm. With several hundred pounds of custom made brats by one of their volunteer’s fathers along with hamburgers donated from local producers, they have been known to go through over 1,500 hamburgers and 1,200 brat buns in a weeks’ time. Plus, they also offer prime rib each night to top it all off. “We get so much local support that this is our only fundraiser that we do during the year.”
The Amidon Fire Department prides itself on participating with other departments and community events. But, Chief Frederick is most proud of keeping the small department alive and well with all volunteers on the same page and going in one direction. “We have really improved our capabilities with our equipment and training,” he closes… with hopes of continuing to do just that.
Written by Lindsey Hefta, Marketing Director