It takes a special person to have the courage and empathy to run toward danger instead of from it, Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative President and CEO Kurt Wickstrom said Thursday, Sept. 8 outside Wahpeton.
Those qualities are as true today as they were on Sept. 11, 2001, Minn-Dak shared with its guests. Volunteer firefighters were saluted during an event that included giving thanks and giving back.
“Each and everyone of you, volunteers (who) serve and protect — I can’t say thank you enough and I can’t mean it sincerely enough,” Wickstrom said.
Seventeen Minn-Dak employees serve on and in eight of the nine fire departments and fire protection districts in the cooperative’s growing area. The employees are:
• Paul Moffet, Barney Fire Protection District, Barney, North Dakota,
• Blair Miranowski, Justin Campbell, Sawyer Mohs and Travis Boesen, Breckenridge Fire Department, Breckenridge, Minnesota
• Walter Anderson, Campbell Volunteer Fire Department, Campbell, Minnesota
• Dana Carlson, Eben Rohling, Jacob Prochnow and Jon Bertelsen, Dwight Fire Protection District, Dwight, North Dakota
• James Fitzpatrick and Michele Brantl, Fairmount Fire Protection District, Fairmount, North Dakota
• Daniel Muller, Jamie Muller and Leslie Muller, Foxhome Fire Department, Foxhome, Minnesota
• Isaiah Harles, Great Bend Fire Protection District, Great Bend, North Dakota
• Freddie Beeson, Hankinson Fire Protection District, Hankinson, North Dakota
Representatives from Wahpeton, Breckenridge and Dwight’s fire departments were on hand to receive thanks and monetary donations from Minn-Dak. The donations were given to further training and other firefighting efforts. Dwight firefighters also displayed a firefighting vehicle.
Minn-Dak has spent the last several years adjusting to changes in the growing industry, Wickstrom said.
“As we’ve been getting our feet back underneath us, we know that some of you, as volunteer firefighters, have been out here from time to time,” Wickstrom said. “When we need you and you arrive, it’s really heartening for us (to see) you jump over here and help us with a situation that needs to be taken care of quickly.”
It is striking to see multiple Minn-Dak employees dressed up to help with a fire, Wickstrom said. The cooperative, sharing its gratitude to firefighters, also announced it would increase community engagement, in particular through work with and support of service organizations.
“We really appreciate being part of this community and it’s time to show that to everyone who lives and works here,” Wickstrom said.
Paul Fry, Minn-Dak’s vice president of operations, joined in the thanks.
“The genesis of this (event) really was during one of our instances that we had a fire,” Fry said. “I came around the corner and lo and behold, I see one of our employees. And I go a little bit further and I see another one of our employees. It meant a lot to me. I went into Kurt’s office to give him the update of what was going on and I said, ‘You wouldn’t believe how many of our employees we have fighting this fire.’ We sincerely appreciate your efforts and it makes me proud to be a member of a company where my fellow employees devote their time to the community.”
Daily News and News Monitor, in remembrance of Sept. 11, 2001, thanks firefighters, first responders, law enforcement and military, whether locally, regionally, nationally or globally.