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Barger chosen as Firefighter of the Year

According to Somerset Fire Chief Travis Belisle, Gary Barger is the perfect firefighter and first responder. Barger was selected by his peers as the 2013 Somerset Fire/Rescue Firefighter of the Year.

“He responds no matter the time of day or what he has going on,” Belisle said. “He lives the farthest out, almost never makes the truck, but keeps responding to every call he can. His family is involved and they have helped out with various department activities. He is a prime example of a great member.”

The honor was announced at the department Christmas party in December. Barger’s name will be added to the member-of-the-year plaque. The tradition began in 2009. Past winners include Ken Parent (2009), Jason Crotty (2010), Travis Belisle (2011) and Chris and Chris Brunell (2012).

Barger said he joined the department in 2009. He and his family moved here in October 2009 from Cincinnati for Barger’s new job with Delta Airlines.

Barger was a firefighter in the Cincinnati area for five years; he wanted to continue his service in his new town, he said. In his spare time he enjoys fishing, hunting and snowmobiling.

Barger and his wife Conni have three kids: Twins Mitch and Mikaela, 15, and Michael, 19, a student at UW-Stevens Point and a soldier.

Barger said he lives 6.7 miles from the department, so he doesn’t make the truck for most of the medical runs. When responding to fires, he’s usually on the tanker.

“I really don’t think I deserve firefighter of the year,” Barger said. “I think everybody does a great job on the department. It’s a great group of people who bring a lot of experience to the department. We have a good group of officers who provide us with great experience and training.”

Sarah Nigbor

Sarah J. Nigbor serves as a regional editor for RiverTown Multimedia, a position she began in April 2017. She joined RiverTown Multimedia in October 2013 as a news reporter for the New Richmond News, before being appointed editor of the Pierce County Herald in Febraury 2015. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Spanish and French in 2001. She completed a minor in journalism in 2004. 

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