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Mural celebrates fire station history

Somerset Fire/Rescue's once-blank wall is now filled with a mural representing different aspects of Somerset Fire/Rescue from it's establishment in 1933 to this, its 80th year of service. The mural was painted by an anonymous donor who wished to give her time and talent to help beaitufy the fire station.

A new mural decorating one of Somerset Fire/Rescue's inner walls celebrates the department's 80 years of service to the Somerset Community.

"It represents the Somerset Fire Department," said Assistant Fire Chief Jason Crotty, "where we started and where we came from, and where we are today."

While Crotty said the mural wasn't specifically planned as a recognition of the department's 80th year of service, its 80 years are represented in the painting.

Fire Chief Travis Belisle said the mural is a way of celebrating the station's history.

"There isn't much round the station for us to look at and learn about Somerset Fire from its inception in 1933," Belisle said. He said he hopes the mural will allow current Somerset Fire/Rescue members to feel a part of the station's history.

"This is our way that the current members can make a mark on the department for future members to come," Belisle said.

Somerset Fire's original small, downtown building is represented in the mural with three "doors" painted into the wall, depicting the three doors on the original Somerset Fire building. The doors are all open, giving the viewer a glimpse into the fire department's inner workings at various points in time.

The middle door is painted containing one of the first trucks the fire department ever used. The "door" to the far right shows one of the department's current trucks, and the "door" to the left shows fire fighting gear hung up on hooks.

At the mural's center, near the bottom, is the silhouette of a firefighter holding the hand of a person in a wheelchair. The silhouette represents honorary Somerset Fire/Rescue member Bradley Marcello, Belisle said. Marcello, who is confined to a wheelchair, can be found at the Somerset Fire/Rescue station any given Tuesday as well as at many other fire department events.

"He's a firefighter at heart," Belisle said.

The firefighter represents any of the members of Somerset Fire/Rescue.

The mural also corporates the Somerset Fire/Rescue logo and the American Flag. The whole mural is topped off by the word "Somerset" in the font used in the Village of Somerset logo, as well as the Somerset Fire/Rescue logo. Crotty says the word "Somerset" is his favorite part of the mural.

"It just keeps everybody united, together," Crotty said.

Somerset Fire/Rescue had been looking for someone to do some sort of a project to brighten up its walls, when a donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, offered to donate her time and talent to create the mural.

The donor painted the mural, starting in January and finishing June 6.

While Crotty said making sure the donor had access to the entire wall, including space for scaffolding while she was painting the higher parts of the wall, he said the painting of the mural never interfered with a fire call.

Crotty said the members of the Somerset Fire/Rescue are proud of their new mural.

"We're ecstatic," Crotty said. "We couldn't have asked for better."

Jeff Holmquist
Jeff Holmquist has been managing editor of the New Richmond News since 2004. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and business administration from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He has previously worked as editor in Wadena, Minn.; Detroit Lakes, Minn.; Hutchinson, Minn.; and Bloomington, Minn. He also was previously owner of the Osceola Sun, Stillwater Courier and Scandia Messenger along with his wife. Together they previously founded and published The Old Times newspaper for antiques and collectibles collectors; and Up!, a Christian magazine of hope and encouragement.
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