Photo: Kaneville Fire District Lt. Jim Long (left) has been with the district for 26 years, while Deputy Chief Dan Koebele (center) and Chief David Sigmund have each served for 25 years. Courtesy Photo
by Susan O’Neill
KANEVILLEâ€”Three Kaneville firefighters were recognized recently for their years of service to the Kaneville Fire District. Lt. Jim Long has been with the district for 26 years, and Chief David Sigmund and Deputy Chief Dan Koebele have each served for 25 years.
For all three emergency responders, service to the community is a prime motivator for their dedication to the all-volunteer fire department.
â€œMost people want to help, in some way,â€ Long said.
Sigmund, who obtained his Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification quite a while ago, took the class again a few years ago when Kaneville began working more closely with the Big Rock Fire District.
Sigmund said that more than half of the Kaneville firefighters are trained as EMTs, which allows them to do everything medical except transport a victim from the scene. When an incident takes place in Kaneville, they are able to arrive quickly, take the personâ€™s vital signs and have a head start on what needs to be done by the time Big Rock arrives with the ambulance.
The fact that they continue to learn new things, even after all these years, is appealing to them, as well.
â€œWe all learn and train together and work together,â€ Long said.
The crew meets at the fire house every Tuesday night for training in some aspect of firefighting or emergency medical care, and most take additional classes at other times during the year.
The camaraderie that exists between them is also something that keeps them coming back, year after year.
â€œThey’re all top-notch people,â€ Koebele said of his fellow firefighters.
Koebele, who was a police officer for the city of Aurora for 32 years before his retirement six years ago, was a patrol sergeant when he left the force.
â€œSupervising is the same, whether you’re fighting fires or bad guys,â€ he said with a laugh.
He said that Kaneville is one of the few remaining all-volunteer fire departments in the state, and he wouldn’t have it any other way. He said they can change it if they want after he leaves, but he likes the idea of an all-volunteer operation under his watch.
According to Koebele, it is a major commitment, but one that each individual takes willingly.
The Kaneville Fire District coverage area is 36 square miles, which includes approximately 1,250 residents.