Prairie du Chien firemen recognized at awards banquet

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For devoting 50 years of service to the Prairie du Chien Fire Department, John Yager (second from right) was recognized by the firefighters association, the retired firemen as well as Senator Jennifer Shilling (not pictured) and Representative Lee Nerison (second from left) at the awards banquet Saturday night. Also pictured are Fire Chief Harry Remz (far right) and Deputy Chief Tim Deluhery Sr. (Photos by Tim Hill)

Wayne Koecke was named 2014 Firefighter of the Year and presented an award for 35 years of service on the department.

Derrick Eastman (center) was named 2014 Rookie of the Year for the Prairie du Chien Fire Department. He is pictured with Fire Chief Harry Remz (right) and Deputy Chief Tim Deluhery Sr.

Fire Chief Harry Remz (right) and Deputy Chief Tim Deluhery Sr. (left) present Doug Rickleff his award for 20 years of service to the Prairie du Chien Fire Department.

Fire Chief Harry Remz (right) and Deputy Chief Tim Deluhery Sr. (left) present Mike Jacobson his award for five years of service to the Prairie du Chien Fire Department.

By Correne Martin

The annual Prairie du Chien Firefighters Awards Banquet was held Saturday night at The Barn Restaurant in Prairie du Chien. Rookie of the Year and Firefighter of the Year distinctions were also presented. In addition, numerous honors were accorded to the firefighters who have reached milestones in their commitment to the department.

Wayne Koecke was named the 2014 Firefighter of the Year. Derrick Eastman was selected as the 2014 Rookie of the Year. The fire department’s officers choose the title winners each year. Rookies are eligible their first five years with the department.

According to Fire Chief Harry Remz, both honors are given to the men who have attended the highest percentage of fire calls, business meetings and practice meetings. Extra credit activities—such as fire prevention promotion, fire truck washing, fire station cleaning or triathlon volunteering—are also considered in the selection process.

“Wayne had a near perfect attendance percentage,” Remz said.

In addition to the Firefighter of the Year designation, Koecke was recognized for serving 35 years on the department.

Also, awards for milestone years of service on the department were given to Doug Rickleff for 20 years and Mike Jacobson for five years.

Another significant award Saturday night went to John Yager for committing 50 years of his life to being a Prairie du Chien firefighter. He started on the department in February of 1964 and has held the positions of firefighter, engineer, lieutenant, captain, assistant chief and deputy chief. He served in many operations and emergency situations, including the fires at Koska Hall at Campion School, the Sands Hotel, Halpin Tire, the Stop Light Bar, Lochner Motors and Slumberland Furniture. He has also given hundreds of hours at department fundraisers and training sessions.

During the awards banquet Saturday, Yager was presented a commemorative clock by the firefighter’s association, which will also plant a tree on St. Feriole Island in his name; a special pocket knife from the department’s retirees; and a proclamation plaque from Senator Jennifer Shilling and Representative Lee Nerison.

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