Great Turnout For Fire Department Party

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Dionne May photo

Chief Electra VanEckhoutte promoted Nate Mercer to captain and awarded him a plaque and a new captain’s helmet. Nate’s proud father, Hellsgate Battalion Chief Doug Blazer, was on hand for the promotion.

Last Saturday, around 50 residents attended a thank-you celebration at Mountain Meadows Camp to celebrate the rebirth of the Christopher/Kohl’s Fire Department.

Chief Electra VanEckhoutte and Fire Department Administrator Jim Oliver gave this special party. The celebration was to thank the volunteers, employees, some residents of the community and Hellsgate fire department for all their dedication to the communities and their help over the past five difficult months.

The meal was fantastic, with mouthwatering steaks and all the trimmings along with a delicious cake for dessert. Oliver, VanEckhoutte and their assistant worked extremely hard to show their appreciation to the members of the district and their families. Stories were told and new friends were made.

I talked with Hazel Gourdoux from Ponderosa Springs, and she told me she spoke with Florence Humstead who lived here for many years, then moved back to Illinois. Everyone knew Flo, for she worked as a waitress for years at Creekside and the Landmark. She is doing fine back there and misses everyone just like we miss her and remember the old days. She was a true friend and I will never forget her.

John Zaleska was talking to me and Margo Fish and Karen Thornton about the Creek area and how we need to get the car wash area fixed. He and others were wondering when the Landmark was going to be fixed and up and running. John said he doesn’t even buy green bananas anymore because he doesn’t know if he will be around for them to ripen. We all laughed because we still buy green bananas. That tells you something, John!

Sam and Karen Seay were sharing their funny stories of the elk. Karen said there was one small bull elk that had been trying to bugle almost every night, but he just could not get it right. She said he would start and he couldn’t finish. Sam said it was like he would get something caught in his throat or he just wasn’t big enough, but they said it was so funny that they couldn’t wait to hear him and see if he was going to get it right. Karen said she could write a book about the wildlife.

Over the years here in Christopher Creek, I have told many interesting stories of the wildlife we have here. As one who had lived on Elk Run Road, I told of the time there was a herd of bull elk outside early in the morning and when I went out back on the deck, they all froze in their tracks and it looked like Santa’s reindeer all lined up and ready to take off.

Lots of stories were told that evening, and I was still laughing at the rat race Rick Schantz took me and about 20 other cars on when there was an accident on 260 and we needed to get around. That Rick, he just doesn’t know how funny he can be. Thanks, Rick, I laughed for days after that one.

All and all it was a great celebration, especially for Nate Mercer. Chief VanEckhoutte promoted Nate to captain and he was awarded a plaque and a new captain’s helmet. His family and his father, Doug Blazer, who is battalion chief for Hellsgate, was on hand and very proud of the promotion. Doug thanked the chief for her confidence in his son.

A big thank-you goes out to Mountain Meadows camp for their kind donation of their cafeteria and facilities for the event.

Thank you to all who put this wonderful celebration together. It was a great time with good people and great food.

The Christopher/Kohl’s Fire Department would like to welcome John Ceja aboard. He is a new full-time employee. He is a FF1 and 2, and EMT and trained in wildland. The department has also acquired a retired engine from Payson Fire and it is stationed at Ponderosa Springs.

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