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Volunteer firefighters make unique sacrifice


Kirk Westring

Kirk Westring is willing to risk his life and make sacrifices – without pay – to help others and give back to his community.

He is one of thousands of people serving 461 volunteer fire departments throughout the state.

As a volunteer firefighter in Humphrey, the full-time mechanic and member of St. Francis Parish in Humphrey sees his service as a way to live out his faith. It also fulfills a sense of duty. "Someone’s got to go in and help people in need," he said.

A firefighter for a year-and-a-half, Westring said his first rescue call was a difficult one – a fatal accident involving a fellow firefighter from a nearby community. "You don’t expect it to turn out that way when you’re rushing to the scene to hopefully save a life, and then you find there’s nothing you can do."

But prayer helped get him through the situation.

"It helps you cope with the loss and helped ease my mind," Westring said. "Just knowing that whatever happens, God has the ultimate plan in the end."

Westring gives up about 15 hours of his personal time per month to serve, including a monthly meeting, a monthly practice session, and time he spends at the fire station washing and maintaining the equipment.

The most satisfying aspect of his service is knowing that he is doing something good for the community and people in need, he said. "It draws you closer to the people you serve and drives you to be a better person."

Being a role model to young people also motivates Westring, including to his own children, ages 3 and 6. As a young person, he looked up to firefighters, and now follows in the footsteps of his father-in-law, Deacon Dennis Anderson of St. Francis Parish, who served on Humphrey’s volunteer fire department for 25 years as an emergency medical technician.

 

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