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Letter: Our hard-working firefighters

Recently, as most people do not know, there were 14 members of the Willmar Fire Department that retired. Despite hundreds of years of cumulative service there was absolutely no recognition given. There was not a single effort on the part of the city of Willmar nor the Willmar Fire Department to recognize the enormous sacrifice that these members have made over the course of their lengthy careers.

Our volunteer firefighters are on call all day, every day. Many must make arrangements with employers to be able to leave without notice during the work day; they routinely give up valuable family time to attend weekly meetings and training. This is, of course, above and beyond actual emergency response calls. Whether it's a false alarm at 2 a.m. on a 20-below winter morning or an all-out blaze to a neighbor's home, it doesn't matter -- our volunteers selflessly respond to each with the same willingness to get the job done.

These 14 members performed all of those tasks very enthusiastically and with a lot of pride; they enjoyed serving their community. However, now it has come time for them to retire and there was no effort made to thank these individuals for their many years of dedicated service.

I realize quickly that the current state of the economy becomes a quick and easy excuse, "The city doesn't have the money for a retirement party." However, recognition is cheap! In fact, it doesn't cost anything at all to say thank you! So, for those recently retired volunteer firefighters and their families, thank you! Thank you for your service and your sacrifice! Even if the city of Willmar didn't notice, I certainly did!

Jenni Rierson-Nesbitt