Officers Aaron Fargher, Mike Thompson, Gerald Armstrong, and Julie Pope take an oath of office for a 2-year term.

Change in Officers for Prophetstown Fire Protection District

By Sarah Ford, AP Staff Writer

Top officers of the Prophetstown Fire Protection District were chosen for their two-year terms at the Board of Trustees meeting on Monday, April 8.
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Julie Pope was approved for another term as Ambulance Administrator. “I love my job,” she told the board, who unanimously approved her appointment.

After an executive session regarding Fire Chief and Assistant Chief appointments, the board appointed Gerald Armstrong for another term. He previously announced his intent to retire in April but decided to be in the running for one more term while continuing to work with prospective successors.    

The board then appointed Aaron Fargher as First Asst. Chief and Micheal Thompson as Second Asst. Chief. All four officers took their oath of office at the end of the meeting.   

Ambulance Agenda

Trustees approved minutes, bills/payroll in the amount of $33,429.90, and the treasurer’s report. Pope reported 53 calls in March, which she said was “pretty high.” Ambulance crews were on standby over the weekend at Bill Gusse’s motocross races, with the department charging $400 for the crew, fuel, and wear and tear.     

National EMS Week is May 19-25, and it’s also the 50th year of the nationwide celebration of EMS Week. Pope requested open house events in Prophetstown and Hooppole, and Lyndon if the interest is there. She’ll work with captains to set the events up, and trustees will allocate funds for the events. Pope wants to offer ambulance tours so people can see how they operate. The board also approved spending $100 for two 3×6 EMS/Fire recruitment banners for Hooppole.

Pope said she’s waiting on the implementation team to get the TCP (Time Clock Plus) program started. She also wants to look at a different program for payroll since the direct deposits are made but the check stubs have to be filled out separately.

Fire Department Agenda

Meeting minutes, treasurer’s report, and bills in the amount of $7,980.38 were approved. Chief Armstrong reported 14 calls in March. He thanked Arian Landheer for being Assistant Chief for the past six years. Landheer is stepping down as an officer but will continue to serve with the department. “Thanks to Gerald and the trustees for having trust in me the past few years,” he said.

Armstrong reported that a new replacement antenna was installed at Rock River Lumber and the signal is working better, especially in Hooppole. He wondered if they should make an insurance claim, since repair costs were $5,000, including $2,500 for the climb. The cable is damaged and still needs to be fixed, and they’ll have to pay for the climb again. He suspects that weather is the cause of the damage.

A recent house burn training in Lyndon went very well, with firefighters from Morrison, Erie, Tampico, and Annawan joining PFPD. Landheer said last month’s training was ladders and hand tools, and this month will be boat training and CRP grassland burning, if they can get it done by the April 15th deadline.

PFPD recently provided services at a celebration of life for a former member and funerals for the Tampico boys, and the families were grateful. The board would like to build a community fund in the budget so they can provide support for families impacted by tragedy. Armstrong thanked everyone for the help and group effort in coming together. Armstrong also commended the district and area departments for their cooperation after a MABAS call for a house fire on Douglas St. in Prophetstown last week.

Engine 6 had a few minor repairs, an air tank was leaking but is getting fixed, and Hooppole’s surplus fire boots have been retrieved. The locking mailbox in front of the station was installed. There was an error on district uniform patches recently ordered so the company will pay for half the replacement costs and sew the patches on 60+ uniforms for free.

New Business

In action items, trustees approved spending $780 on nine shields for fire helmets. Two PFPD trustees and Chief Armstrong will attend a training seminar in Cherry Valley, IL on April 20 at a cost of $35 per person. The board approved taking bids for the Hooppole truck not in use, contingent on Pope transferring the license first. Two firefighter applicants were approved, one from Lyndon and one from Prophetstown. Armstrong plans to seek a $9,800 grant from the Moore Foundation for firefighting equipment.

The board discussed but tabled having background checks on new applicants going forward, since it’s in the by-laws and lawyers are pushing for it. The cost is $20 per person through the Illinois State Police, but a more in-depth check is offered through a company in Freeport at a cost of $65 per person. More details will be gathered before deciding.

The board will get a committee together and set meetings to discuss and plan for the budget. They also need to look at department funds to see where Foreign Fire Insurance Act rebates were deposited. They agreed to list four air packs as surplus property and sell them at $2,000 each.

The next meeting of the PFPD Board of Trustees will be on Monday, May 13 at 6:30 p.m. at the Prophetstown Fire Station.

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