Over three dozen firefighters with the Leipsic, Glandorf and Ottawa Volunteer Fire Departments came together last Wednesday to support four families in all three communities. (Putnam Sentinel/Steven Coburn-Griffis)
Over three dozen firefighters with the Leipsic, Glandorf and Ottawa Volunteer Fire Departments came together last Wednesday to support four families in all three communities. (Putnam Sentinel/Steven Coburn-Griffis)

LEIPSIC — Last Wednesday, the Leipsic, Glandorf, and Ottawa Volunteer Fire Departments exercised their mutual aid compacts with each other, though not in the usual fashion. There was no four-alarm fire or calamitous industrial spill, no horrific wreck on one of the county’s back roads or some poor, lost soul in need of a water rescue.

There was, however, chili and hot dogs and a gift basket raffle, balloons and bunting and overall good cheer.

Every year, members of the Leipsic Fire Department hold a chili fundraiser, the proceeds from which are used to help a family, or families in need. This year, responding to a need in the neighboring communities of Ottawa and Glandorf, the funds raised were earmarked for not only one Leipsic family, but three families in those other two villages, as well.

The impetus for the decision to reach outside the village came in September from the Ottawa-Glandorf School District and Sts Peter and Paul School. There, students, faculty and staff came together under a single standard: Titans Fight Together. Rather than a cheer for a team or sport, the slogan was a rallying cry of support for three of their own: Josh Butler, Luke Haselman, and Ben Schroeder, all of whom are battling cancer.

Seeing this, hearing of this, Leipsic firefighters felt compelled to take action. Officers of the LVFD reached out to their counterparts in Ottawa and Glandorf, floating the idea of a joint fundraiser. Not surprisingly, the proposal was met with immediate approval.

“We fight fires together, so why not fight the good fight together?” LVFD Captain Kyle Stechschulte said. “Vikings and Titans fighting together!”

And they did. Some three dozen firefighters from the three departments were on hand Wednesday, steaming hot dogs, overseeing the raffle tables, and dishing up bowl after bowl of chili. At the end of the evening, receipts exceeded expectations, and this despite a long, wet day followed by a chill, damp evening. LVFD Chief Neil Goodwin announced the event raised in excess of $7,000. The monies will be portioned out to the Butler, Haselman, and Schroeder families, as well as to the family of Nora Schroeder, Leipsic.

“We live in an amazing small county,” Capt. Stechschulte said. “We as a fire department love our community and appreciate the support, and we will always will give back when we can.”