Jadwin Fire Department Board President Leroy Kunkel speaking at the annual meeting.

Jadwin Fire Department Board President Leroy Kunkel speaking at the annual meeting.

The Jadwin Fire Department met April 24 for its annual meeting. Nearly a hundred friends, family and neighbors in the Jadwin service area gathered for the fellowship. The night began with prayer and dinner, moved on to the business at hand and ended with auctioning off the leftover meat and a handful of other items, including turned wooden bowls made by local artisans, a quilt and a wooden American flag shaped like the U.S. and made by District 143 Rep. Ron Copeland, who also attended the meeting.

The Jadwin Fire Department is a not-for-profit corporation organized according to Missouri statute in 1994. The department came together when a group of people saw a need in Jadwin for a rural fire department.

“We held some community meetings to determine if there was enough community interest and support,” said Leroy Kunkel, who has served as the only president of the board since the department’s founding. “We asked people to put up $100 that would be refunded if there wasn’t enough support for the board,” he said. “We raised about $10,000.”

The following year a fundraising auction raised over $4,000. The first annual meeting was held in 1995, when the department elected an official board of directors for the first time.

Elmo and Brenda Barton donated the site for the station. The station was built by volunteers and the department was trained by the Lenox Fire Department. An engine was purchased from the Dent County Fire Protection District; other vehicles and equipment were obtained from the Missouri Department of Conservation and Ozark National scenic Riverways.

Early board members were Kim Jadwin Smith, Tery Jadwin Tobey, Tony Boyd, Bob Halbrook, Jack Ficker, Harold Strotheide, Paul Owens, Jamie Hogan, Gene Graves, Carroll McDonald, Richard Fleener, Marcus Maggard, Kenny Kidd and Kunkel.

And of those early members, according to Kunkel, “Only Harold (Strotheide) and Jack (Ficker) had any experience,” he said.

The Jadwin family recently donated land across the road from the station, where a permanent air ambulance landing pad is being built.

The Jadwin Fire Department’s presence in the area not only contributes to the ability for people to get insurance in the Jadwin area, but also its class nine rating with the Insurance Service Office may even decrease yearly premium rates for people living within five road miles of the station.

The Jadwin Fire Department did not hold its annual meeting in 2020 due to concerns about COVID-19. So, the business meeting held after dinner included the 2018-2019 minutes, and Kunkel presented profit and loss statements for April 2019 through 2021.

The Jadwin Fire Department currently has six trucks and 19 volunteer firefighters. Membership continues to grow. The department now has around 260 members. Between membership dues, nonmember fees and grants, the department averages an income of around $27,000 each year.

The department has applied for what grants seem practical for their operation. They have received a $2,000 grant for hazard mitigation surveys, and Missouri Department of Conservation match grant of $1,271 to put new tires on the tanker and another $1,900 for small equipment that will be paid out in July and another $1,000 from MFA to help with the cost of the new landing pad. However, there are no grants that cover actual operating expenses.