When Dave Holzer retired from the Jordan Fire Department on April 3, his 29 years of active service were the second-longest in department history.
Over the years Holzer served as a lieutenant, captain, relief president and fire prevention co-chair.
But a little over 30 years ago when he was first recruited as a firefighter in small-town Minnesota, Holzer didn’t have any record-breaking ambitions.
His main ambition was to fill a need he saw in his community, and a way to give back.
Holzer grew up in Minnesota and moved around a bit before settling in Jordan in the 1990s, where he worked at Valley Bank. A coworker, Marge Huxley, whose husband Kurt was a member of Jordan Fire, found out he had been a firefighter, and recruited him to join the department.
“She said, ‘They have some openings and are doing try-outs, I think you should go try out,’” Holzer said.
April 3, 1992 was Holzer’s first day of membership with the department— 29 years later to the day, he would retire from a career that made an impact on his community.
Challenge and reward
Over his almost three decades with the department, Holzer remembers being part of many a hairy situation.
Among them, he remembers the 2001 fire at the Cedar Ridge Arabian horse barn in Jordan, where 80 horses ultimately perished before a team effort of area fire squads were able to control the blaze.
He says one of the most amazing parts of being a part of Jordan Fire has been witnessing the way departments in the surrounding areas help one another out in moments of emergency.
“It’s a kind of a cool thing to see happen, and to also be able to reciprocate that if they need us,” Holzer said. “Everyone kind of just works together and pitches in.”
Some of the most difficult calls were accident scenes that the department had to go out to, Holzer said.
Another one of the sacrifices that came with the territory was time away from family.
“Sometimes you’re sitting in church or you’re at work or you’re sitting down for dinner at home and the pager goes off and and you need to leave whatever you’re doing to go to the call,” Holzer said.
Though many challenges came along with the job, some aspects were extremely rewarding, Holzer said.
One of these aspects was the sense of family he found within the department.
“Everybody comes together when they need to,” Holzer said.
Support from the community was one of the biggest reasons he was able to stay with the department for such a long time.
“I just want to thank our family, friends and employers for all the years that they supported me when I was on the charge,” said Holzer.