Firefighter and First Responder Jeff Schulz climbed to the top of a fire truck Saturday morning to welcome over 250 walkers to the Dale Fire Department Cancer Walk.
The walk started at the fire department’s parking lot, where the fire trucks sat outside the bay to accommodate registration and breakfast tables. Walkers received a t-shirt and breakfast for their donations. They had a crisp, comfortable morning to walk, with plenty of sunshine and no wind.
Town of Dale residents Evelyn Rupple, Vi Heuer, Gladys Winckler and Cordell Schroeder walk together nearly every day and were happy to see the new walking trail that skirts around the perimeter of Daufen Park used for the event. Walkers returned to the fire station bay for a hot breakfast.
Schulz and the rest of the volunteer department were amazed and delighted at the turn out. “We thought we’d have 100 people at the very most,” said Schulz. “To get this much support when we just threw this together a little over a month ago is great.”
Schulz and Wunderlich were talking about their families one day and feeling grateful for the support their wives and mothers have been to them as firefighters.
“We all know it’s a pain to be a fireman’s wife,” Wunderlich stated. “We get fire calls at the most inconvenient times. It always seems to be as we’re sitting down for dinner, attending a family get-together or an important event.”
Schulz said their wives never say a word.
“We don’t get slack from any of them,” said Wunderlich.
“So we just wanted to thank them for the support they show us all the time. For everything they do for us. This idea of a walk for cancer seemed like a good way to honor them,” said Schulz. Assistant Fire Chief Doug Wunderlich nods his head in agreement.
The fact is, of the 38 volunteers at the fire house in Dale, seven wives or mothers are dealing with cancer right now.
Schulz made his second announcement of the morning as the walkers enjoyed fresh fruit, scrambled eggs, French toast sticks and sausage links.
“You walkers raised $14,235 for cancer research today, and we thank you,” he said as he clapped to the crowd who gave a big whoop at the number he announced.
“We didn’t have to do much to get the ball rolling,” said Wunderlich. “Everyone thought it was a good idea, and we have so many guys on the department who wanted to help.” In the food business for years, firefighters Chad Ewing of Vinny’s Pizza, Ryan (Pooby) Grossman, head of concessions at Timber Rattler Stadium, and Don Neiland were more than glad to lend an experienced hand. Others pitched in to spread the word and get the job done.
“We’ve all known someone close who’s had cancer. This is something we will do again,” said Schulz.