This week I’d like to honor our entire Glen Ellen Volunteer Fire Department. There is no doubt, certainly not for me, that all of these folks are lifesavers, good neighbors, and people we all can – and do – depend upon. They do so much for us. I have a couple of ideas about what we can do in return. But, before I share that, one of the simplest ways you can show appreciation is by a short note of sincere thanks. That can mean as much as anything else. Truly.
I’ve received a few notes lately that warmed me entirely. Thanks Doug; thanks, Scott; yes, thank you Marcie; and even thanks to Will. Each of your responses elicited smiles, which is a lovely treat on any day. But those stories are for another column; for now, I want to concentrate on our much-admired fire folks.
Cascade of role changes
I received a great email from our Glen Ellen Fire Chief, Peter Van Fleet, recently. As he begins, “Lots of stuff going on at the firehouse,” and truly there is.
“Bob Wagner, our retired local veterinarian, was recognized for his many years as a volunteer firefighter and district director. Bob and Pam Wagner’s move to North Carolina left a vacancy on the fire district board of directors. Hal Weise, our assistant fire chief was appointed to that position by the board of directors at the regular meeting in December. Hal resigned from his assistant chief position to become a director. Hal served our community as a volunteer for 33 years and, I believe holds the record as the longest serving volunteer in department history.”
From this column and out to the community, we send grand congratulations to Hal for his continuing service to our volunteer department, now as a board member.
The company also recognized Bob Norrbom for his 40 years of service on the district board of directors. Chief Peter says, “We had his son Bob Norrbom Jr., a long time Glen Ellen volunteer and his grandson Mike Norrbom, a new Glen Ellen volunteer, stand up with him to honor the three generations of Norrboms serving Glen Ellen.”
These folks, who remain in Glen Ellen and serve us all so faithfully, embody the qualities that make our town so special. Many of the good folks of our town are here, not merely because it’s paradise, but because they choose to live where people care about one another and show that dedication through their volunteer efforts.
Referring to these dedicated longtime families, Peter Van Fleet continues, “I appointed Matt Atkinson, our battalion chief officer, to the assistant chief position and Rusty Sims, a fire captain, to Matt’s battalion chief position.
In January, the local chapter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars recognized Matt Atkinson for his community service as a firefighter in Glen Ellen. Matt will have completed 32 years of service to our community at his start date this year. Matt originally came to Glen Ellen as a ranger at the park. He retired from that job several years ago and became ranch manager for Benziger Family Winery.”