New member joins fire department team

Wednesday night was a training night for one of the newest volunteers to join Topaz Ranch Estates Volunteer Fire Department. Laurie Pendleton, a resident of TRE since 2003, decided to join the department after going out horseback riding several times with Fire Chief Coreen Hutchison.

"Talking to Coreen and finding out that I could be a volunteer, I thought I would give it a try," Pendleton said.

Pendleton and her family, husband John, daughter Haley,14, and her 9-year-old son Johnny, came to the area when her husband was stationed at the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center located between Walker and Bridgeport, Calif. While the Pendleton family were living in Marine base housing in Coleville, they decided to stay in the area when John retired from the Corps.

Laurie attended her first meeting with the volunteers in January and became a full member March 9 of this year.

"There is a lot to being a volunteer," she said.

There are 10 phases a volunteer must pass in order to be fully vested as a firefighter, starting with background checks, physical checks and specific training time. For Pendleton, Wednesday night was going to be hose training, not as easy as you may think. Under the guidance of Captain/Paramedic Walt Kesteloot and his partner Firefighter/EMT Zack Pederson, Pendleton, a petite blond, all decked out in cumbersome "turn-outs," hoped from the back compartment of the engine, giving a little leap to catch the ends of the hose, putting her whole weight into unfolding them from the engine and heading for her first target, an orange caution cone she had to spray with water and knock over. "Simple - you say?" Again, not as easy as it looks. Congratulations Laurie.

For Pendleton's son Johnny, he received a special treat for a job well done. Johnny, a student at Minden Elementary, completed a special book report, "The Career of a Firefighter," for which he received an A+. Donning Captain Kesteloot's helmet and gloves, he had his chance to see what the business end of the fireman's hose felt like. With the aid of Firefighter Pederson, Johnny scored a knockdown as a blast of water shot from the hose he was manning.

To all our firefighters, our volunteers and to our future generation of firefighters, until next week, keep on, keepin' on.

n Jonni Hill can be reached through The Record-Courier at or by calling 782-5121, ext. 213, or after hours at


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment