Garry Vick has lots of memories as Rural Fire Chief

Mike Bellmore, Features Editor
Garry Vick

Garry Vick has seen a lot of things and created many memories during his years on the Devils Lake Rural Fire Department.

So when he stepped down recently from that position, it was not an easy decision.

“It was tough, but I just felt it was time for some more freedom - time to give some younger people a shot,” Vick said.

Vick’s career dates back to 1985 when he began on the Lake Region Search & Rescue team.

He joined the Rural Fire Department in 1990, became Assistant Fire Chief in 1994, Deputy Fire Chief in 1996 and Chief in 2006.

Vick served as Deputy Chief to former Rural Fire Chief Terry Young.

He said one of the main problems he encountered over the years was from the financial end of things.

‘When we passed a mill levy, that helped us overcome some of the contracts with the townships we had,” Vick added.

“In the early years, gaming helped pay for so many things we had or got, but then those proceeds dropped off.”

Vick said when “9-11” occurred in New York and 3,000 people lost their lives, the government came up with Homeland Security money that has helped fund and replace many things his department desperately wanted or needed.

He said it was sad and tragic that so many people had to lose their lives, but now there is a path to securing some of those things.

Now, he can leave the top post in a relatively comfortable frame of mind.

“It was an experience,” added Vick. “I’m stepping down with a lot of great memories.”

He said the scope of the services provided by the Rural Fire Department has changed drastically.

Vick said he took a trip to Bismarck a few years ago with a couple of other guys for a course in vehicle extrication.

That, ultimately, led to the formation of a dual response team with the city fire department.

They have responded to many vehicle accidents in the Lake Region area and ultimately saved countless lives.

Vick said the biggest fire he was involved in happended a few years ago at Prairie Truck and Tractor on the west end of Devils Lake.

That fire  probably resulted in $5 million in damages, but no fatalities.

There were fatalities in some of the fires he responded to, but not multiple fatalities.

“I’ve seen good and I’ve seen the hard stuff,” Vick added. “A lot of time, a lot of people, a lot of experiences and relationships, a really good relationship with the Ambulance Service.

“It was quite a ride. Quite an experience.”

Vick said he plans to continue as a member of Rural Fire and maintain his job at Camp Grafton.