Pat Aerts - Chief
My introduction to the fire department started in 1988 when my dad asked me if I wanted to see the new fire truck. From that night on I wanted to be a fireman. Every Tuesday night I would ask my Dad if I could come with and the answer was always yes. For me the draw to the fire department was to hang out with the guys and they always found something meaningful for me to do. One of those jobs was checking the trucks at worknight. Of course they wouldn't let a teenager drive a firetruck, except with everyone guiding me I was allowed to back the trucks into the station. Back then we had 6 trucks, only 3 of which did not have power steering, and the station only had 2 doors. Not exactly an easy task. It wasn't until I was 19 before I was allowed to drive a truck in forward direction.
The times sure have changed since then. Back in the day you had to call the fire department directly and the phone rang at the station and at 9 of the firefighters homes, and hopefully someone would be at home to answer the call and then call the firefighters at their place of work. What a difference the 911 system and the pagers made. Nowadays we take for granted the pagers and cell phones that notify us of fires.
The other day I was thinking about how I used to follow in footsteps my Dad and Uncles and all of the other guys at the station. I now know that they were teaching me how to become a firefighter and a better person in general. Now as the Chief I have to keep in mind that now I have fireman following in my footsteps. I have learned a lot of good things from ALL of the chiefs and fellow firefighters.
It's my hope that you find this website interesting and if you're ever driving by and see us outside working on something feel free to stop in and say hi.
Kate Aerts - Safety Officer
Kate has been with the fire department since 2003. Kate's primary job on the fire department is safety officer. Kate's full time job is a dispatcher for the Oconto County Sheriff's department. This has proven beneficial to our department since we are paged out by the Sheriff's department in helping with better communication between us and them.
Kate is also the Vice President of the Oconto County Fire Officer's Association. The Association was organized for the departments to help out each other in the many different aspects of fire fighting. All of our Officers belong to this organization as well.
Jerry Aerts - 1st Captain
Jerry has been on the department since 1990 and has taken technical hazmat training along with many other fire classes over the years.