In a break from tradition, the Greater Cedarburg Foundation (GCF) chose to honor an organization rather than an individual as the recipient of its annual Civic Award. This year the award was presented to the Cedarburg Volunteer Fire Department, which celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2016. The award was presented on Wednesday, May 11, during an event held at the firehouse on Mequon Avenue.
“We cannot think of a more dedicated volunteer group that daily exemplifies what service to the community means,” said Dale Lythjohan, chairman of the GCF civic event committee. Although this award has been given to individuals over the previous 13 years, Lythjohan said that making the presentation to the Fire Department was a “unique once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
The Cedarburg Fire Department was organized by a group of Cedarburg pioneers in the fall of 1866, a year after the American Civil War ended. The original roster included 31 men and the first piece of apparatus, a hand pumper named “Metamora No. 2,” was purchased from the City of Milwaukee for $800. Today, the department has 65 active members, 19 of whom are female, and 125 passive or honorary members who help with fund-raising efforts. The latest piece of equipment, a new Pierce fire truck, has a pricetag of $780,000.
Previous recipients of the Civic Award include Merlin Rostad, Carl Edquist, Ralph Huiras, Bob Armbruster, Edward Rappold, Janet and Don Levy, Mal Hepburn, Barbara and Layton Olsen, Jim and Sandy Pape, Jim Coutts, Paul and Philia Hayes, Jim Lee and Dick Dieffenbach.
Accepting the Civic Award from GCF President-Elect Joe Fazio were: (front row left to right): William Hintz, Fire Chief Jeff Vahsholtz, Kim Gordon and Scott Matusewic; (back row left to right): Richard VanDinter, William Koeppen and Jeffrey Boerner. The Fire Department requested that the $1,000 grant that goes with the award be split between Heartsafe Wisconsin for CPR training and the “Burn Camp” put on each year by the Professional Firefighters of Wisconsin to help children who have suffered burn injuries. Photo courtesy of Ozaukee County News Graphic: Art Dahlke, photographer