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Bennett bash sparks interest in giving back

Neighbors gathered for food, fun and a look at emergency vehicles during National Night Out on Tuesday.

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People line up to look inside a Life Link III helicopter and talk with flight paramedic Tanner Arthaud, right, during a National Night Out event at the Bennett Fire Hall on Tuesday, Aug. 2.
Maria Lockwood / Superior Telegram
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BENNETT — The Bennett Volunteer Fire Department hosted a National Night Out event Tuesday, Aug. 2. They opened up the fire hall, put all the vehicles on display, shared a meal and offered an array of activities for local kids. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Douglas County Communications Center were also represented.

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Alexandria Anderson, 7 of Bennett, front, uses a hose to knock down a simulated house fire as Bennett Fire Chief Travis Theien looks on during a National Night Out event at the Bennett Fire Hall on Tuesday, Aug. 2.
Maria Lockwood / Superior Telegram

Alexandria Anderson, 7, of Bennett kept a tight grip on the hose as she knocked down a simulated fire outside the fire hall. Inside the building, emergency responder Morgan Fowler helped her suit up in gear worn to fight wildfires.

"She's been wanting to come and check this out since we moved here," said her father, Shaun.

A Life Link III helicopter landed outside the Bennett Town Hall during the event. It was more than a chance for the community to see it up close. The firefighters got training on how to set up for a helicopter landing, and they got to meet the helicopter crew.
"If there's an accident on this highway here, we know that we can use this landing zone and they know how to set it up," said flight paramedic Tanner Arthaud. "It's a training and PR and then we can get to know first responders a little better around here so if we do interact with them on scenes and stuff, we already know them, have a little bit of rapport to help with patient care."

Bennett Fire Chief Travis Theien said the department, which has 13 members, has responded to 56 calls to date this year.

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"Pretty busy; that was about last year's total," he said.

The biggest increase has been in medical calls, something that he said all departments in the area are dealing with.

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Morgan Fowler, left, treasurer of the Bennett Volunteer Fire Department, helps Alexandria Anderson, 7, of Bennett, try on a suit worn when fighting wildfires during a National Night Out event on Tuesday, Aug. 2, at the Bennett Fire Hall.
Maria Lockwood / Superior Telegram

Theien said one of the big messages he wanted to share with visitors was emblazoned on one of the department's trucks: "Will this truck fit down your driveway when you need it most?"

The event was also a chance to meet neighbors and possibly spark interest in joining the department.

Shaun Anderson said he's been considering joining the fire department since they moved to Bennett three years ago.

"It's just a way of giving back to the community," said Anderson, who served in the Army National Guard for 18 years.

The visit to the fire hall may have been the push he needed to join.

"I'll come to the meeting and see what all I need to do to give back," Anderson said.

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Wilson Burfield, 7, of Bennett finishes a freeze pop sitting on the back of a fire truck during a National Night Out event on Tuesday, Aug. 2, at the Bennett Fire Hall.
Maria Lockwood / Superior Telegram
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Left to right, Savanna Kirsteatter, 11 months old, and her mother Rachael Kirsteatter of Minong pose for a picture taken by Melissa Hunter of Bennett during a National Night Out event on Tuesday, Aug. 2, at the Bennett Fire Hall.
Maria Lockwood / Superior Telegram
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Olivia Wicklund, 1, of Hawthorne helps her brother Zachary, 7, knock down a simulated house fire with a hose during a National Night Out event at the Bennett Fire Hall on Tuesday, Aug. 2.
Maria Lockwood / Superior Telegram
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A crowd gathers around a Life Link III helicopter, which touched down during a National Night Out event at the Bennett Fire Hall on Tuesday, Aug. 2.
Maria Lockwood / Superior Telegram
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Maria Lockwood covers news in Douglas County, Wisconsin, for the Superior Telegram.
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As reported by Douglas County Circuit Court.