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"“Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all.”"
– Stanley Horowitz  
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  Volume No. 18 Issue No. 10 October 2021  

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  FFPD meeting wrap-up
  By Pete Gawda

   The swearing in of two new firefighters and further discussion of construction details were highlights of the Falcon Fire Protection Board of Directors meeting on Aug. 11.
   
   New firefighters
   Fire Chief Trent Harwig swore in Jacob Higdon and Ryan Feng as firefighters.
   
   Finances
   According to the chief's financial report, the end of July marks 58% of the fiscal year. As of that date, the general fund had received 93% of budgeted revenues and spent 49% of budgeted expenses. While the ambulance transport fund had not received all of its anticipated fees for transports, the fund was at 49% of budgeted expenditures. Because the lease purchase agreement had not been approved as of the end of July, the capital projects fund was at 23% of revenues and 31% expenditures.
   
   Fire and ambulance calls
   Deputy Chief Jeff Petersma informed the board that there were 12 reserve hours in July and 276 calls. As of the end of July, the total calls for the year were 1,961. He noted that the response time for station 3 was slightly over five minutes despite the road construction outside of the station. There were 121 ambulance transports in July. Petersma said there was an uptick in COVID-19 cases but firefighters were exercising precautions.
   
   New administration building
   At last month's meeting, the board awarded a contract for the remodeling of the current station 3 into an administration building to iiCON Construction Group. At the August meeting, the board spent time discussing the details of the contract, such as payment schedules and delivery schedules of materials, with the construction superintendent for the project. The August meeting had been moved up one week to accommodate this discussion.
   
   In connection with this project, the board approved a lease purchase agreement from Farmers State Bank in the amount of $2.1 million to finance the construction.
   
   New station 3
   Harwig informed the board that the exterior work on the new station 3 was almost done and final interior work like painting is almost completed. The board ratified a draw of $153,519 to Hammers Construction Company for work done on the building.
   
   Executive session
   The board held an executive session to receive legal advice on a potential land transfer.
  
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  Challenge coin remembers first responders
  By Pete Gawda

   At the Aug. 18 meeting of the Falcon Fire Protection District Board of Directors, board member Mike Collins presented his fellow board members and board attorney Joan Fritsche with challenge coins in memory of his son, Ben Montoya.
   
   Collins, who is also a chaplain for the FFPD, said challenge coins were first issued by the military. Years later, the New York City Fire Department started issuing them to honor fallen firefighters. The coins became a tradition throughout the country; eventually, the coins caught on in Colorado Springs.
   
   “I gave the board members coins because they have always supported me and my family,” Collins said.
   
   According to the website, customchallengecoins.net, a challenge coin is a specially designed coin given to someone to confirm membership in an organization or to recognize a person for a special achievement. The website states that military organizations and first responders use challenge coins to honor outstanding service and special accomplishments in the line of duty.
   
   The small, metal coins fit in the palm of the hand and sometimes have the emblem or insignia of the presenting organization engraved on them.
   
   This particular coin honors Collins' son, Chief Ben Montoya, who became a first responder at the age of 18. He served the Black Forest Fire Department, Ellicott Fire Department and the Liberal, Kansas, Fire Department; and was the chief of police for the Beaver, Oklahoma, Police Department. Chief Montoya also served in the military and was deployed to Qatar, Afghanistan.
   
   In January, he passed away from COVID-19.
   
   “I personally knew Ben,” said Rev. Brad Noonan of Our Lady of the Pines Catholic Church in Back Forest. “He was a remarkable young man.” Noonan is chaplain for the Colorado Springs Fire Department and oversees the distribution of challenge coins by the Catholic Diocese of Colorado Springs.
   
   The coin also honors Capt. Christoper Carneal, who served the Fort Carson Fire Department and the Fowler Police Department. He recently lost a battle with cancer.
   
   The front of the coins bears the names of the two men and the organizations they worked for as first responders. The blue and red stripes on the coins represent their connection to firefighting and policing. The reverse side of the coin displays images of St. Florian, patron saint of firefighters, and St. Michael, patron saint of policemen.
  
Mike Collins, board member of the Falcon Fire Protection District and chaplain for the FFPD, holds the challenge coin that was issued by the Catholic Diocese of Colorado Springs in memory of his son, Ben Montoya. Photos by Pete Gawda
 
This challenge coin was issued in memory of deceased first responders Capt. Christopher Carneal of the Fountain Police Department and Chief Ben Montoya of the Beaver, Oklahoma, Police Department. The red and blue bands signify that the honorees were members of the police and fire departments.
 
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  Falcon firefighter inherited love for the profession
  By Pete Gawda

   Firefighting is in the blood of Nathan Hale, driver /operator with Falcon Fire Protection District. Nathan Hale’s mom, dad and grandparents were all firefighters. It’s in his blood! Prior to his nine years with the FFPD, he was a volunteer firefighter in Peyton. He is married with no children and spends his off duty hours working on his ranch.
   
   September fire safety tip: It's time to check the batteries in the smoke detector.
   
   Stay connected with the Falcon Fire Protection District
   
   Website: http://www.falconfirepd.org
   Facebook: Falcon Fire Department
   Twitter: @FalconFireDept
   NextDoor.com
  
What he enjoys most about his job is the camaraderie with his fellow firefighters.
 
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