Union Township

Ringgold County


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Union Township Volunteer Fire Fighters

Physical Address

Union Township Fire Department

100 E Main

Ellston, IA 50074

Mailing Address

Union Township Fire Department

PO Box 22

Ellston, IA 50074

2019 Volunteer Fire Fighters

Tim Creveling (Fire Chief), Brad Crandall, Kevin Creveling, Nathan Creveling, George Fardy, Tracy Freihage, Karl Groszkruger, Jeremiah Swietlick, Brian Whitson, Jeff Vos, Matt Weeda

Retired Volunteer Fire Fighters

Larry Freihage, Tyler Whitson, Andrew Apadocka, Fred Staats

The Making of the Union Township Volunteer Fire Department

Establishing Union Township Fire District   In planning the building of Sun Valley Lake, the Union Township trustees John Fouser, Raymond Green, and Lee Creveling met in November of 1968 to discuss establishing an Ellston Fire District. A special election was held on September 3, 1969 in conjunction with the primary election to vote on the establishment of a Union Township Fire District. Upon passage of the fire district, attention turned to building the lake from 1969 to 1972. In January of 1976, the township trustees met at Lee Creveling’s home with Joe Fay to discuss a game night to be held once a week at the new  Sun Valley Club House, sponsored by the Union Township Trustees. Proceeds would go to the Union Township Fire Protection Fund. It was agreed by all present to open an account in the Tingley State Savings Bank with $24.65, taken from the cemetery fund. A Wednesday afternoon card game at the Club house was enjoyed by the men of the community, but the Trustees turned to other means to finance the fire department.

On March 22, 1976, Trustees Lee Creveling and Raymond Green and Clerk Linford Mason met with the Grand River Fire Dept. to discuss the possibilities of them providing Union Township fire protection for July 1, 1976 to July 1, 1977. They agreed to provide service for $2,500 per year. More than they had expected to pay, the trustees continued to look for other possibilities. In April of 1976, Trustees Marion Creveling, Kenny Wood, and Lee Creveling met in the lobby of the Tingley Post Office with Tingley Fire Chief/ Tingley Postmaster Don Kinne. Tingley offered to furnish Union Township fire protection for $750 per year. However, by March of 1977, members of the Tingley Fire Dept realized in order to serve both districts adequate fire protection, they needed new equipment and Union Township was asked to pay $3,200 per year, which would increase as the valuation got higher. Union Trustees doubted they could levy that much money. So, they contacted Max Anderson of the Mt. Ayr Fire Department if  they would provide fire protection for Union Township.  They offered their services at $1,500 per year, but two weeks later decided that was not possible. Trustees Marion Creveling and Lee Creveling then revisited Raymond Jones of the Grand River Fire Department. When Grand River lowered their offer to $1,500 per year, it was accepted. By then, Union Township trustees realized the best long term solution was to organize their own fire department.

 It wasn’t until January 2008, that Teresa Jackson of the Ringgold County Engineer’s Office organized a county wide Mutual Aid Agreement. Union Township Trustee Doug Bullock signed the Iowa Mutual Aid Agreement for Union Township to participate and filed it with the County Recorder. Rather than the ability to pay, lending a helping hand to fight fires in neighboring townships was now an expected formal agreement for all. County-wide fire calls come into the Ringgold County Sheriff’s office in Mount Ayr and the dispatcher contacts the nearest fire department via pagers. Each Union Township volunteer is issued a pager.

Fire Equipment: On April 9, 1978, an ad appeared in the Des Moines Sunday Register and Tribune for a useable equipped fire truck, reasonably priced. The city of Melbourne was selling a 1957 Ford Truck, well equipped, for $8,000. The trustees quickly acted and sent them a check of $500 to hold it. Melbourne delivered the truck about June 15, 1978. The 1957 fire truck was the major equipment used by the department for the next 30 years. The 1957 Ford fire truck loan had been paid off for some time, but only the red truck was up to code. The Union Township Fire Department’s request for a state grant for a new fire truck, but was denied, due to the low number of calls Union Township answers. On September 4, 2007, Tim Creveling (Assistant Fire Chief) asked the Trustee’s for help to buy a new fire truck, given the present truck was 50 years old. Trustee Lee Creveling motioned to purchase a used diesel fire truck with specifications set by the members of the Union Township Fire Department and approved by the Union Township Trustees with monies levied for fire and emergency services. Fire Chief Scott Derscheid and Assistant Chief  Tim Creveling located a used 2000 Freightliner Fire Truck for $185,000 in Pennsylvania. Assessor Neil Morgan placed a value on the Township assets at $11,540 for the 40’x40’ Fire Station and $880 for the adjoining lots. Trustee Doug Bullock worked with Melinda England of US Bank in Mount Ayr to arrange a loan at 3.5% interest for 7 years. Finally in 2008, after a total of 50 years of service the 1957 Ford Fire Truck was retired. John Reasoner repaired its leaky water pump and fixed the regulator. The 1957 truck was then stored in the north end of the old fire station until space was needed and it was moved to the Ellston Pioneer Museum, where it can be viewed. In 2013, the DNR Forest Service donated a 2001 Freightliner semi-truck to the fire department to be converted into a water tanker truck. Nathan Creveling and Scott Derscheid donated their skills and made it ready with expenses of $10,620. By June of 2015, the final payment for the 2000 Freighltiner Fire Truck was made, so the Trustees felt it was time to purchased a 2016 Chevrolet Silverado 3500 HD diesel pickup for $75,867 to fight grass fires with final payment made in October of 2018.

Fire Station  In June of 1978, a rental agreement was made with Lloyd “Butch” Butcher to house the 1957 Ford Fire Truck at the Ellston Filling Station for $25/month and to pay ½ of the station’s heating bill. Fire calls were received through the telephone hookup at Sun Valley Club House, where someone answered 24/7 and passed the alarm on to the firemen via a calling tree. Cell phones did not yet exist. It was a modest beginning with used equipment, used uniforms and no formal training for approximately six volunteer fire fighters: Lee Creveling, Quinten Anderson, Joe Dukes, Jim Reasoner, Ron Creveling, and Steve Grose.

In March 1983, funds for a fire station began to be raised. The Union Township Trustees Lee Creveling, Ted Derscheid, and Clerk George Hosfield put $10,000 in a 6 month money market, the Ellston Centennial Committee donated $2,285.59, and grant money was applied for. In March 1985, Trustees Lee Creveling, Ted Derscheid, and Maurice Jones added $3,500 to the existing C.D. On March 27, 1986, the opportunity came for Trustees Lee Creveling, Maurice Jones, and Ted Derscheid to purchase the Filling Station from Elva Buell, including lot, trailer, and everything on lot for $12,500 with the condition that Elva be allowed to live out her life in the trailer. Union Township was now the proud owner of The Union Township Fire Station, yet continued to rent it as a Filling Station, now operated by D.A. Jennings and later by Todd “Toddo” Finch before the Filling Station closed permanently in 1993.  

The old filling station was not long enough to accommodate a modern new fire engine, so a large addition was built with volunteer labor during the summer of 2008, under the leadership of Kevin Creveling. The addition was a 36’x48’ metal clad building with cement floor, fully insulated, restroom, and LP heating and cooling. The addition was funded with $10,000 from the Union Firemen’ account, $10,000 from Union Township’s account surplus, community fund raising,  individual contributors, and groups like the Sun Valley Parrot Heads. Scott and Tim applied for building grants. Assessor Neil Morgan assessed the Fire Station lots value at $12,500 and $17,500. The old building was insured for $40,000 and the new building was insured for $60,000. In 2016-17, the old part of the Fire Station was remodeled with new exterior siding, new windows, foam insulation, and interior paint. In 2019, the trustees voted to complete the remodel by replacing the old part cement floor, adding an exterior cement pad and floor drain for a washer & dryer.

Volunteer Firemen  The leadership of Lee Creveling, first Fire Chief from 1978 to 1998, responded to the need for fire protection by creating a fully equipped and functioning Union Township Volunteer Fire Department and retired at age 72. Scott Derscheid became the second Fire Chief from 1999 to 2013, requiring all volunteers to attend fire school in Ames, IA. After Scott moved to Mount Ayr, the Assistant Fire Chief Tim Creveling (Lee’s grandson) became the third Fire Chief to the present date, and continued his and Scott’s goals to build a fire station addition, modernize the fire truck fleet, and grow  the department to 13 trained volunteers.

 In September 2009, Trustee Maurice Jones made a motion to purchase workman’s comp insurance through Cunning Insurance for 12 volunteer firemen and seconded by Trustee Scott Derscheid. The insurance cost $1,471 per year for 12 volunteers, giving $1.7 million coverage per incident. Volunteers are only covered during training or when answering a fire call. The next goal for the fire department was to replace the original used uniforms of 1987 with new uniforms and equipment that met the 2018 current standards. Bob Martin of Sun Valley Lake, fabricated and donated a bank of individual lockers to house the new uniforms.

Brought to you by NERA . Northeast Ringgold County Alliance. Foundation . Established in 2008 . Serving residents in Northeast Ringgold County . Iowa