Firefighter Friday: Father Daughter Firefighting Team for the Stittville Fire Department
In this week's "Firefighter Friday," we talk to Dan Kalk of the Stittville Fire Department, and his daughter Paige Roberts, who was inspired to become a firefighter because of him.
Dan Kalk has been a firefighter for 22 years, but not all of those years have been spent at Stittville. He was actually with Holland Patent for 21 years, and joined Stittville after that. Paige Roberts has been a firefighter for the last two-and-a-half years.
Like most of the firefighters we've talked to for "Firefighter Friday," Dan decided to get involved in the fire community because his family was involved. He mentions his uncles, brothers, and dad all served at fire stations. He went on to tell us about an emergency phone that was connected to his grandmother's home...
Instead of having a 911 system, Holland Patent had their own 865 number you could call... and [my grandmother] had one in the house. If you called, she would pick up the phone, and could also blow the siren from her house... My grandmother had one [of these phones], both my aunts had one, and the fire chief at the time had one.
Pretty crazy, right?! It's obvious that Dan Kalk and his family have always had a strong tie to helping out the community and being involved at their fire house.
We switched gears to focus on both Dan and his daughter Paige. Paige was the one to nominate her father for "Firefighter Friday." We asked Dan how he felt knowing that he inspired his daughter to become a firefighter, to which he replied, "Pretty proud!" He says ever since his daughter could walk, she has always been spending time with him at the fire house. That's where Paige first got inspired to become a firefighter; It's what her dad does, it's what her family does, and it's what she's grown up around her whole life.
Dan also tells us about a memorable moment on the job, and it's pretty impressive...
There was a gentleman who had a heart attack while driving through our village. Somehow, I don't know how, the car got stopped, we ended up doing CPR right in the middle of 365...
He was able to get to the hospital thanks to the work of the firefighters and the emergency crew, and he made it. He survived!
Paige's memorable moment is just as impressive. She tells us about the first time her and her father rode in the fire engine together to a fire. Her dad took over on the pump and she took over on the "handline." Naomi Lynn didn't know what that meant, so Paige explained that she was running the fire hose, and was attacking the fire from the outside.
In the nomination form, Paige wrote that her father "inspired many junior members to continue their ability to volunteer and also push them to the best of their ability." We asked Dan how he feels knowing he's inspiring so many up and coming firefighters. He says it feels pretty good, and went on to tell us about the junior program they started when he was in Holland Patent, which you can hear about in the video (at the top of this page).
Dan mentions that some parents are worried about allowing their kids to be a part of the fire department, but he says that Oneida County offers excellent training for new firefighters and the state instructors treat the junior firefighters as if they were their own kids. He adds that it's all about the safety and teamwork. Which we can take his word for, I mean, he does go on calls with his own daughter.
We also asked them what it's like working together. Dan likes the fact that he's a firefighter now and not also chief, so he can focus on his daughter and make sure she's safe. Paige's response?
I find it pretty cool to be like, 'oh yeah, that's my dad,' and I do the same thing he does.
For all that Dan does as a firefighter and being an inspiration to not only his daughter, but to junior firefighters as well, we're proud to recognize him and feature him for this week's "Firefighter Friday."
And if you know of a firefighter who deserves recognition for the job they do, you can nominate them at the link below. They may be featured on an upcoming segment of "Firefighter Friday."