"They are seeing what we do:" Sun Prairie explosion spurs more people to volunteer

Published: Jul. 9, 2019 at 5:52 PM CDT
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The resilience and dedication displayed by the Sun Prairie Fire Dept. following the downtown explosion last July did not just inspire fellow first responders.

The people living in the community also watched closely as firefighters, like Capt. Cory Barr, put everything on the line to help.

Sun Prairie Fire Dept. Chief Chris Garrison said, since the explosion, around 25 more firefighters have joined the departments ranks. Most of them are volunteers sacrificing hours of their time each week.

Chris Reese, who started volunteering last fall, wears many hats. He is a dad of four, husband, business owner and veteran, serving eight years in the Army and National Guard.

"I have a successful business, got a great family, but there was something that was missing,” Reese said.

Like many other living in the community, Reese said he was inspired by the bravery and sacrifice of the department. He said it is what spurred him to look further into what it would take to become a volunteer.

"I chatted with chief, and he explained to me what the fire department was all about, and I realized very quickly it was a perfect fit,” he said.

Reese is not the only one. Chief Garrison said not only did they get new people, but people came back to help.

“They are seeing what we do, and then they come and get attached, they got the bug and they stay with us,” Garrison said.

With how the department looked out for Capt. Barr’s family, Reese said he has no doubt, that is how they would treat his. Because of that, he said he is in it for the long haul.

"As long as I can physically do it I am going to stay a part of the fire department,” Reese said.