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Mayor Carol Lagergren, retiring firefighter Mark Thomas, and his grandson accepting the commodation from the city and honors from the fire department. (Submitted by Steve ZumBerg)

The Norwood Young America City Council held a meeting to discuss several important items. Among those was a celebration of Mark Thomas, an NYA firefighter who retired after a long career serving the community, as well as reviewing firetruck replacement scenarios.

First in the order was the honoring of Mark Thomas, NYA firefighter and very recent retiree. He, with several of his colleagues and family, spoke at the meeting on March 22. Thomas began his firefighting career 34 years ago, in 1987. Since then, he’s worked had in NYA not only as a firefighter but also has an auto shop owner.

“He’s always been one of our daytime responders, and night time,” said Fire Chief Steve ZumBerg. “What makes Mark unique is the determination to leave his business at a moment’s notice. Mark did that thousands of times for 34 years.”

ZumBerg continued, explaining that while he was sometimes away from his business, he would always return to catch up. Thomas has had to sacrifice a lot of family time due to his commitment as well, but they’ve supported him through his three decades of firefighting work, according to ZumBerg. He’s also been happy to volunteer around the community, including serving hamburgers at Stiftungsfest (which he will continue to do even while retired).

There are plan in place to hold a banquet for all firefighters retiring next year, including Thomas, due to COVID making that much more difficult to do currently. For now, though, ZumBerg gave Thomas a commemorative helmet in honor of his service, with more to come soon.

Thomas thanked the city for letting him serve.

“We want to thank you,” said Mayor Carol Lagergren. “You left quite a legacy, not only for the current firemen but for the firemen you work for, and for your son who is a fireman with us as well.”

Lagergren and city staff also awarded Thomas a certificate on behalf of the city. Thomas’s family also thanked the firefighters and city for their work, and their respect of the firefighting community.

With that done, it was time to move onto the more classic council actions, namely approving various projects. Keeping with the fire department theme, it was time to talk replacing Rescue 11 for the department.

Rescue 11, a fire department vehicle, was hit on December 23 during whiteout conditions on Highway 212. The fire department was responding to a semi versus car collision, which due to the extremely low visibility began endangering more vehicles traveling on the highway. Before shutting down the highway for safety reasons, a van struck Rescue 11, which is why the fire department is looking at replacing with vehicle as it was totaled.

Since there was already a committee in place for new trucks, they took on the new project and began searching for a suitable replacement. The department needs a to-cab, four-door pick up without a box, according to ZumBerg.

They are looking at used 2013 Ford F150 for $43000. The truck is made for fire stations, and despite its age, it has only been driven around 10000 miles. It has been through a flood out on the coast, so it would need to be repaired due to corrosion. Another one they looked at was listed at $34000, but was unfortunately sold.

ZumBerg also noted that even if they do find a truck, it may need to be painted which would add roughly $5000 to the cost since it does need to be red. So to help move things along, he was before the council to ask how to proceed since they’d need to act fast or possibly deal with repairs. He also proposed going to various organizations in NYA for any donations towards the new truck.

With that in mind, the council made a motion for ZumBerg to go out for quotes for a new truck with a power unit. Motion was passed unanimously. It’s important to note that a replacement won’t be purchased until council approves, so ZumBerg will be back.

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