Bascom dedicates new fire station

PHOTO BY BRET NYE Members of the board and leadership of the Bascom Joint Fire District (from left) Vice President Troy Huth, Assistant Chief Chris Daniel, Chief Mark DeVault, Loudon Township Trustee Roger Holman and President Richard Gosche unseal a fire hose before the door is opened Sunday at a dedication for the new station in Bascom.

Bascom Joint Fire District’s new station at 5450 W. Tiffin St. was dedicated Sunday afternoon in front of a crowd of current and former fire chiefs and first responders, board members, local public and state officials and citizens of the district.

The day began with a last call at the old fire station down the street, 5960 W. Tiffin St., and a procession of Bascom’s emergency vehicles to the new station.

Just before 2 p.m., the flag was raised in front of the new station to a saluting crowd and a host of speakers took to a podium inside the new station promptly after.

Pastor Terry Steinhauer of Hopewell Church of Christ began with an invocation.

“This is not merely a dedication of a building: it’s a dedication of men and women who bravely answer the call knowing very well it may be their last,” he said.

“May the lord bless you and keep you,” he said in prayer. “May the lord make his face shine on you, and be gracious to you.”

The history of Bascom Joint Fire District and the passage of time between the fire district’s earliest days and its current state were main considerations of many of the speeches Sunday.

Vice President of the Bascom Joint Fire District Board Troy Huth provided a historical timeline of the fire district and its area predecessors.

“It’s important to remember where we came from to truly appreciate where we are today,” Huth said.

Huth said the first organizational meeting of the Bascom Community Fire Department was Nov. 29, 1927. The Bascom Joint Fire District as it is currently organized was formed in 1996, he said.

Huth then described the timeline for the creation of the new station.

“The property for the new station was chosen and purchased in spring 2017, and the groundbreaking ceremony was held in July 2018,” he said. “Construction began on the new building October 2018.”

Richard Gosche, president of the Bascom Joint Fire District Board, was next to speak.

“Support has been great for this project,” Gosche said. “This new station exists as a result of ideas that came before the board several years back and a great deal of recent planning and hard work.”

Gosche mentioned that passage of a levy in 2017 was a major step in supplying the funds to create the new station.

“The overwhelming passage by almost 80% of the 2.5-mill levy in May 2017 makes a magnificent statement about our community,” he added.

“This community always comes through, whether it’s supporting our school, park or the new home of the Bascom Joint Fire District.

“We see this as an example of public service and partnership. It stands as testimony of how people working together for a common purpose can create great things that will live far longer than we will,” he said.

Assistant Chief Chris Daniel then gave an emotional speech about the bittersweet move to the new, better-outfitted station.

“There will be no more playing musical trucks trying to find a bay to park our trucks in, and we no longer need to worry whether a certain truck will make it through a certain door,” he said.

“But I found myself strangely missing these things,” he said. “I think the reason is because of all the memories that exist in the old station, which has served this community for 91 years.

“When we look back, let’s remember the thousands of times we’ve seen the doors at the old station opening, local volunteer vehicles swiftly going out of the station, the fire and EMS personnel rushing and responding to a call,” he said.

“Sometimes, we came back satisfied and proud with what we accomplished. Other times, the station was where we’d gather afterwards to console one another when a scenario was out of our hands even before we got there,” he said.

Daniel then thanked a number of people who helped the process along as he led the effort of planning the building the new station.

“I want to thank my family for their patience and support, the current and past chiefs for their trust in me and their faith, the fire board for their dedication, our fiscal officer Victoria Coppus for handling all the necessary administrative items, the EMS board for their commitment, as well as the departments who allowed us to tour their stations for ideas,” he said.

Daniel also thanked area businesses, schools and citizens for “being there for us,” and the USDA for supplying a direct loan that represented a “cost-effective solution for funding this station” among many others.

Chief Mark DeVault also talked about the community’s commitment to making the new station a reality.

“Just look at what you’ve done,” he began. We came to you with a need, and you responded to that need. I want to thank you so that we can celebrate our grand opening today.”

The dedication ceremony also saw State Rep. Bill Reineke give some remarks about the inspirational nature of a community-led effort.

“I think today the most important thing is the power of the people. I just need to congratulate everybody, including all of the volunteers who help for the good of the community,” Reineke said. “I would just like to encourage everybody to continue working together to continue to make great things happen.”

Bascom Joint Fire District hosted an open house immediately after the dedication, giving people an opportunity to tour the new facility with the district’s first responders.