Arie Scholten, Ed Van Kooten, and Ervin Nikkel were honored by the Sully Fire Department for their many years of dedicated community service.
Decades ago, three men answered a call to serve. Recently, their community thanked them.
Ed Van Kooten, Arie Scholten, and Ervin Nikkel were recently honored for their years of service to the Sully Fire Department. They were each presented a metal Co-Line bench on behalf of the volunteer fire department in recognition of their service.
Together, the three men put in over 115 years of volunteer service: Scholten served 43 years; Van Kooten served 42 years; and Nikkel put in 15 years with the Sully Department while also serving the Reasnor Fire Department for 30 years.
Even though the men weren’t able to be recognized at a dinner reception in 2020 that was canceled due to COVID-19, the Sully Fire Department made sure their efforts weren’t in vain.
“These three men have been an integral part in the success of our local fire and EMS department,” said Sully Ambulance Director Justine Wyma.
“As leaders, they helped develop policy with high expectations. Volunteering is demanding, dangerous at times, and always unpredictable,” said Wyma.
“They dedicated their time to ensure our communities were safe 24/7, 365 days each year. We want to thank them for their dedication, caring and compassionate hearts, and time away from their families. I know these three men did not become first responders in order to gain glory. Instead, they were our unsung heroes in the background for four decades,” added Wyma.
A local volunteer fire department is at the heart of a community, and those who choose to serve become intertwined with the lives of others in the town.
“I’m not sure anyone really knows what they are getting into when they make the decision to join a fire department, especially a volunteer department that also operates an ambulance. But it doesn’t take long to figure out that you are part of something very special. You soon learn that you are part of a ‘brotherhood’ you didn’t know existed. You are now a part of a group of people who work together, laugh together, see things together that most people will be fortunate enough to never see, even cry together. But you always have each other’s backs to get through whatever is thrown at you. You also learn that it’s not just you that joined the department. It’s also your family. It’s your spouse, kids, and maybe even your boss who are also involved. They are the ones who are left wondering where you are going, what you will have to deal with, when you will be back, even IF you will be back,” said Sully Fire Chief Mike Vander Molen.
“So with all of that being said, I would like to say a HUGE thank you to these three men, their families, and everyone who was affected over the years by their dedication, and desire to do whatever they could, whenever the call came to serve their community, and help keep it safe,” said Vander Molen.
“I know none of these guys did this for the recognition. In fact they might not even like the idea of this article. They sure didn’t do it for the money, because it’s all volunteer. I’m pretty confident in saying they would say the best ‘pay’ for what they did was a sincere ‘thank you.’ So after giving in this way for most of their lives, please give them at least that the next time you see them or their families. I’d also like to thank all those who were, are, and will be part of this department. Also thank you to this great community for supporting us,” added Vander Molen.
Sully is grateful for Scholten, Van Kooten, and Nikkel, and their decades of service to the community.