Our heroes: Thank you, firefighters

September 2018 Posted in Columnists & Opinion


Some brief background: My wife Virginia and I (Tom) lived for 35 years on our family farm close to Mount Angel, where we raised our three boys. Brother Zan and I were born there. Perhaps three years ago for various reasons we had to move, building a new home in Mount Angel. Because of my love for the house, built by our grandfather in 1932, I had a near replica constructed. The farmhouse has been rented since. 

On Aug. 13 I was riding on my dirt bike to inspect our bottom land.  As I passed by the house I saw a gaggle – two or more trucks are a “gaggle” – of fire trucks.  You can imagine my reaction. Within minutes of receiving a 911 call from the tenants, the volunteer fire departments of Mount Angel and Silverton arrived. The fire started in the basement. An old ceiling fan, installed by our father in the mid-1960s, shorted out, the fuse didn’t trip producing an arc and then a fire.

The entire Ewing family wishes to express its profound, deepest, gratitude to the men and women firefighters who responded to the call. Deputy Chief Don Seiler, who oversaw the operation, told me that 15 minutes more and they would have been unable to control the fire. Kaleb Dark and Ron Meissner of Mount Angel were the first into the burning house, full of smoke. Ron suffered heat exhaustion; he was evaluated by Silverton Hospital and released.   

In our opinion, over the past few years the term “hero” has increasingly been used casually, even extravagantly. We don’t. We use it as it was understood in our youth. The Mount Angel and Silverton volunteer – we can’t emphasize that word enough – fire departments coordinate closely and assist one another when the need arises. These firefighters answer the call at any time of day or night, leaving their homes and work places, ready to rush into a burning building facing unknown dangers to save lives, property, or both. These men and women, to our minds, are true “heroes.” 

To conclude, some of you know our family and the house and may be interested in the following: The damage was considerable and will take time to repair. But it will be repaired. Of the greatest anxiety to us is that our tenants,
a young family of five, will have to continue living in a motel until the house is habitable. We wish to thank the following who have done so much to assist us: Servpro, Kuenzi Electric, and especially our property manager, Jon Horter of 3H Management Group who has gone above and beyond.

And finally, yet again, our gratitude to brave firefighters. Our heroes.

EwingTom Ewing
Mount Angel

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