Retired firefighters form volunteer fire corps

Bob Leonard and Mike LaVenture missed the fire service, so they started a volunteer unit within the local fire district to “come back and help”

By FireRescue1 Staff

OCONOMOWOC, Wis. — After retirement, two firefighters who missed the fire service decided to start their own volunteer corps.

Journal Sentinel reported that 45-year veteran Bob Leonard retired as an assistant chief in 2015, and 42-year veteran Mike LaVenture stepped down as lieutenant a year later.

The two missed the fire service as time went on, and Leonard brought the idea of a volunteer unit within the Western Lakes Fire District to Chief Brad Bowen.

"When we came up with this volunteer idea, we thought that this was a great way to come back and help," Leonard said. "It's totally volunteer. We're not compensated at all. We're just volunteering. There are various projects that we do."

The Western Lakes Fire District Fire Corps became official Sept. 1, and LaVenture said it was an easy decision to become part of the fire service again.

"You can only mow so much lawn, clean out garages so many times," LaVenture said.

Chief Bowen said he is thankful for the extra help from experienced firefighters.

"It's been huge," Chief Bowen said. "Between the two of them, they've got at least 60 hours of volunteer efforts just in the last couple of months, which would have been work that we would have to take the line firefighters and put them out there to do that."


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