Bradner celebrates fire dept., EMS anniversaries at Day in the Park


BRADNER – Step back over 100 years as Bradner celebrates two anniversaries at its annual Day in the Park
on July 19.
The event will kick off at noon with a parade featuring at least 50 units, many of them fire departments
from surrounding communities.
This year marks the 120th anniversary of the Bradner Volunteer Fire Department, and the 60th anniversary
of the EMS squad.
The department used horse-drawn trucks when in started in 1894. A replica of a 1904 hand-drawn hose cart
will be included in the parade, from Lake Township, as will a horse-drawn steamer truck, circa 1895,
from Leipsic.
The original fire department banner, with gold leaf trim, also will make an appearance in the parade
before immediately going back to under lock and key.
Grand marshall for the parade will be Grizzly Bear from FM 104.7 WIOT.
The department took delivery of its first motorized vehicle in 1929, built in Prospect, Ohio. Delivery of
the truck by train, plus all the accoutrements, cost $3,000, according to Tom Wildman, department
captain and historian.
The EMS squad was added in 1954 for which the department bought a Chevy panel truck.
"Back then, they relied on funeral homes to transport (the injured) to the hospital," Wildman
"From there it’s come a long way," he stated.
The first paramedic was added in the early 1990s; now there are three or four, plus about 30 volunteer
Much of the history of the department is intact and will be on display.
The day also will include a car show to help raise funds for a new fire hall. Registration is $10 per
entry and starts at 7:30 a.m.
"We’ve got a long ways to go," in raising money, Wildman said.
There will be food vendors in the park, a baby contest and karaoke. The Hoedowners from Walbridge will
start playing at 7 p.m. with a beer tent at 7:30 p.m.
Fireworks will start at 10 p.m.
A 4K run starting at 6 p.m. also is planned; registration can be made on site.
Jim Smith, current fire chief, joined the department in 1964.
"When I first started, you put your name on the line and you were a firefighter."
Now volunteers have to go through hours of training to be both a firefighter and an EMT.
He recalled when they used to call the funeral home director to transport the injured.
Then the department bought its own hearse to do that.
"We got it to help the firemen," Smith said.
"That suddenly grew from take care of your own to take care of the community."

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