Archive for Wednesday, August 22, 2001

Fairmont Township a pioneer in safety

August 22, 2001

On a Sunday afternoon in September 1951, eight area men visited state Rep. William Denholm. Their request was fairly simple.

They wondered if Denholm would introduce legislation that would allow townships to raise money through taxes to provide for fire protection. As the story goes, Denholm agreed perhaps only to pacify the men.

The perseverance of those eight men, and Denholm's willingness to introduce the legislation, has had a long-lasting effect for Southern Leavenworth County.

After the legislation passed both the Kansas House and Senate, the men purchased a $2,500 truck and had it converted into a fire truck.

So went the birth of Kansas' first township fire department. That department the Fairmount Township Fire Department continues to provide fire protection today to residents in southeastern Leavenworth County.

The department has grown from the original eight members to 31 members who now respond to calls for help. The 1951 pumper has been unofficially retired, but it still is housed at the Warden fire station at 158th and Metropolitan.

Those eight men Wilbur Grisham, Bill Lendel, J.R. "Bud" Klamm, Richard Warden, Jerry Oroke, Joe Carney, Frank Eyerly and Bob Van Tuyl had the foresight to realize that this area needed fire protection. Only one of those men, Wilbur Grisham, still is living.

Those men, along with Denholm, deserve a great deal of credit for helping ensure the safety of Leavenworth County residents and residents throughout

One can't help but imagine whether those men would have dreamed in September 1951 that the present-day members of Fairmount Township Fire Department would respond to an emergency call nearly every day of 2001.

So as residents of Southern Leavenworth County gather in Basehor on Sept. 22 and 23 to celebrate the 50th birthday of the Fairmount Township Fire Department, it would be fitting, too, to think of the contributions those nine men made to our safety.

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