The Flasher Rural Protection District is made up of the fire department and the ambulance team. The fire department consists of 18 volunteer fire fighters. They serve a wide community in their area that includes Flasher, Shields and Raleigh. They also serve as mutual aid to neighboring fire departments for the towns of Carson, Solen, McIntosh SD, Mandan, New Salem and Almont.
This past summer, in July 2019, the fire department partnered with Dakota Community Bank & Trust (DCB&T) to hold a firetruck fundraiser cookout during the town’s Summerfest. The idea for this came about after Chief Shannon Gerhardt had been denied a grant from the North Dakota Forestry Service (NDFS) for funding to replace some of the team’s clothing and equipment. While the hard news arrived that they would not be receiving the grant, the NDFS contacted Chief Gerhardt asking if he would be interested in taking a look at somethings they had on hand for possible donation. While there visiting with NDFS, they offered Chief Gerhardt a wildland brush unit box from one of their old trucks, if they had a pick up to put it on.
From there, Chief Gerhardt returned to his board to ask if the fire department could purchase a truck, to which they said yes. Knowing the potential cost of a new truck, as their current fleet was comprised of a 1973 Chevy, a 1974 Chevy, and a 1998 GMC, Gerhardt reached out to some local businesses to see if anyone would be willing to donate to the cause… one of those businesses was DCB&T. With a little cash assistance from the bank, there was a larger plan set in place – a firetruck steak fry fundraiser with free will offering.
Chief Gerhardt mentions, “We held the steak fry in July and the bank covered the entire bill on that. On the day of, the bank came down with 300 steaks and 150 hotdogs, we completely ran out of food. We had probably 360-400 people there. It was unbelievable how many people from around the community came by to support the deal. You guys don’t have a bank in flasher, but you still supported a local community. When you see Dakota Community Bank & Trust’s commercials, and you see that you are community involved and you give back to the community, you guys do it 100%.” He went on to further praise the people of Flasher and the surrounding communities stating he was in shock at how great of a turnout the fundraiser received. With the backing of the community, the fire department was able to raise approximately $9,000 in just one day.
DCB&T also sponsors the grill for the fire and ambulance team’s annual Flasher Fire Steak Fry each fall. Along with these two steak fries and various cash donations, the Flasher Fire Department also had a silent auction and raffle that resulted in the new 2019 F550 Ford being paid off 100%. “The board couldn’t believe it… actually no one could believe it in the area that we paid for a truck 100% off of donations and raffles and a steak fry. You could tell it was well needed when the community came out to support the steak fry and donate the money they did,” says Chief Gerhardt.
The Flasher Rural Protection District takes pride in what they do. With the new truck and new equipment, including more recent grain bin rescue equipment, the team is now able to get to fires safer and faster to aid the communities.
Written by Lindsey Hefta, Marketing Director