Photo by Renee Mendonca

Herald Fire Protection District honored top volunteer fire personnel at its Jan. 15 meeting. Receiving accolades were firefighters George Vander Dussen and Darren Mitchell, and engineer Christopher Hendrickson. Pictured are Battalion Chief Jim Miller, Vander Dussen, Mitchell, Hendrickson, board members George Obi and Dennis Johnson, board president Lindsey Liebig and Fire Chief James Hendricks. Two employees who were not present but received recognition are engineers Taylor Courtney Bippus and William Smith.

Herald Fire Protection District President Lindsey Liebig opened the Jan. 15 meeting by announcing that Director Brian Hurlbut had submitted a letter of resignation the day before. Liebig said that Hurlbut’s letter attributed health reasons influencing his decision to leave the board.

“He wished everybody the best and said he was willing to help in any capacity that we may need,” Liebig said at the meeting.

Liebig acknowledge Hurlbut’s continued service.

“We are very thankful for Brian’s service to the District for the past six years and know he will remain an active part of our District family,” Liebig said in an email to The Galt Herald. “His dedication to making a difference in our community will be hard to replace.”

Liebig said that the district would post a notice for applicants to submit letters of intent to fill the vacant position. Deadline to submit a letter is Feb. 28.

Letters of Intent can be submitted to the Fire Chief at or submitted in person at Station 87.

Hurlbut is halfway through his second four-year term, having been reelected in 2018. The chosen applicant will fill Hurlbut’s seat through 2022.

The Board hopes to fill the vacancy at the March 19 Board Meeting.

For more information regading the board vacancy, including Bord of Director policies, duties and requirements, contact Liebig at,

In other business, board members recognized five volunteer firefighters for their efforts over 2019.

Choosing the top five volunteers to recognize, Volunteer Fire Chief James Hendricks presented firefighters George Vander Dussen and Darren Mitchell and engineers Christopher Hendrickson, Taylor Courtney Bippus and William Smith to the board; however, only Vander Dussen, Mitchell and Hendrickson were in attendance.

Hendrickson said that Bippus attended 124 of 373 calls, 33 percent, and attended 76 training sessions; Smith responded to 139 calls, 37 percent, and attended 88 training classes; Hendrickson responded to 154 calls, 41 percent, and attended 57 training sessions; Mitchell responded to 213 calls, 57 percent, and attended 76 training sessions; and Vander Dussen responded to 232 calls, 62 percent, and attended 90 training classes.

Each of the honorees received a certificate and a handshake from the directors.

Hendricks began the short ceremony with an annual overview of the year.

According to Hendricks, the all-volunteer fire district led or assisted in 373 calls, 220 of which were medical related, six structure fires, one hazmat incident, and burned off 105 acres within the district. The district maintained an average response time of 7:33 minutes and averaged seven personnel at each incident. The district covers over 90 square miles of mostly rural terrain, and is often called in for mutual aid by surrounding agencies.

Hendricks said that the district’s busiest months were September and October, with each receiving 36 calls within their time frame.

“And when you look at the days, most calls come in on Thursdays. So that’s interesting,” Hendricks reported.

Board members chose leadership for 2020. Director Dennis Johnson nominated Liebig to stay as chair, Director Heidi Braziel, although not present, to stay as vice chair and Director George Obi to serve as board clerk. Liebig seconded the motion and it was passed 3-0.

During the Chief Report, Hendricks said that three volunteers have resigned for personal reasons, taking the volunteer numbers to 26.

“I’d like to get to at least 30 but prefer 35,” Hendricks said.

At the end of the meeting, Obi requested meeting times change to 6 p.m. rather than 7 p.m. That was also unanimously agreed upon, beginning next month. The meeting location was also changed. Directors will now meet in Station 87, 12746 Ivie Road, for their monthly meeting.