Nonprofit Profile

Gresham Area Fire Department serves village, 2 townships

Carol Wagner, Leader Correspondent

Photo by Carol Wagner Jerod Hoffman, left, is the assistant fire chief/EMS and Sam Boucher is the fire chief for the Gresham Area Fire Department.

Sam Boucher is the fire chief for the Gresham Area Fire Department, and Jerod Hoffman is the assistant fire chief/Emergency Medical Services. There are 24 firefighters and five first responders.

The department covers the roughly 72 square miles of the village of Gresham, and the towns of Herman and Red Springs. The department is funded primarily through local taxes.

“We answer to a fire board from those three,” Boucher said.

Other funds come from their Shawano County Fair stand, which they’ve manned for the past five years.

“That helps raise money for extras,” Boucher said.

One of the department’s “extras” is donating money for three or four families for Christmas Is for Caring.

The fire department has two engines, a water hauler, a brush truck and a utility terrain vehicle. There are around 30 to 40 fire calls in a year; the EMS responds to about two calls a week.

The fire department is in the former utility building, which includes space for the vehicles, meeting rooms and a kitchen. It has been updated with a new roof, painting and carpeting.

“We did a lot of work,” Hoffman said.

The firefighters and first responders meet once a month for four hours, which includes two hours of training. Fire department volunteers need to have 120 hours of training to be certified by the state.

EMS volunteers need 80 hours of training and refresher training every two years. They can do CPR, control bleeding, put on splints and clear airways before the ambulance arrives. The things they do can be critical to a patient’s survival.

“There’s a need for it in our rural area,” Hoffman said.

Most of the volunteers live or work within their coverage area. Boucher works at Pierce in Appleton and Hoffman works at JBS Carriers in Green Bay.

The department could always use more volunteers.

“We rely on volunteers that are home,” Boucher said. “The rural setting isn’t like a city, If you want someone to respond to your house, it’s probably going to be a volunteer. It should fall on everyone in the area. We have to have the willingness to want to help our fellow human beings and make the world a better place.”