Taking time to say ‘thank you’

Messenger photo by Kristy Zurbrick
Members of the London Fire Department and other community leaders recently made a surprise visit to one of their own, retired London fire fighter Dave Ridenour: (seated, from left) Ridenour and retired London Fire Chief Dick Minner; (standing) fire fighters Andrew Mantell, David Trujillo, and Austin Fultz; London Mayor Patrick Closser; current Fire Chief Todd Eades; Lt. Chad Lawhun; and fire fighter Chuck Fultz.

(Posted Jan. 29, 2024)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

Making the effort to recognize someone for their service is always time well spent.

On Jan. 18, London Fire Chief Todd Eades and several of his crew members paid a surprise lunchtime visit to Dave Ridenour, a retired London fire fighter and resident at Madison Senior Living Community in London.

Helping to coordinate the visit was Megan Reisinger, sales and marketing manager at Madison Senior Living Community. Reisinger and her fellow staff members decked out the dining room with flame-shaped placemats, fire hydrant cookie towers, and fire fighter-themed balloons. They also displayed photos from Ridenour’s days with the fire department.

Ridenour was surprised and touched by the visit.

Nodding to the table full of fire fighters surrounding him, he said, “I might not know them personally, but they are still brothers to me. Once you’re a fire fighter, you’re always a fire fighter.”

Ridenour served his entire fire fighting career with the London Fire Department, starting in 1959 as an apprentice and retiring in 1980 as a lieutenant. During his tenure, he created the department’s fire prevention officer position and fire prevention bureau.

“We did inspections of properties, like hospitals, nursing homes, manufacturing, schools–anything that was inherently dangerous,” he explained.

Ridenour loved his job.

“They say that if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life. That’s the way it was for me. There was something every day that I looked forward to, even if it was just testing hose,” he said.

Eades said Ridenour has been a long-time supporter of the fire department even in retirement. For example, in 2006, Ridenour came out to watch the crew train after delivery of a new fire engine. Ridenour also keeps a list of where all former London fire fighters are buried, helping the department to locate graves for flag placement.

Eades has ordered a custom sweatshirt and a quilted jacket, both featuring the fire department’s logo, to present to Ridenour at a later date.

Other special guests at the surprise visit were Dick Minner, retired London fire chief for whom Ridenour worked, and London Mayor Pat Closser.

Eades said the fire department is always happy to recognize former employees. A few years back, the department held a breakfast for retirees. In 2016, fire fighting veterans were special guests at the department’s 150th anniversary celebration.

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