I can definitely say my life as a firefighter’s wife has been truly a interesting time.

While husband chose to be a career firefighter after he volunteered for several years; many chose to work another full time job and then volunteer their time to the protection and preservation of life and property.

A career or volunteer firefighter and their families must get used to a lifestyle that is much different than most people. Many times there are interrupted meals, holidays apart and stories of life-threatening experiences.

The South Haven Fire Department has been in existence since the early 1960s, shortly after Portage officially became a town. Members of this department have been dedicating their lives to serving the largest unincorporated area in the state of Indiana to help make it a great and safe place to live. They are also responsible for mutual aid for the city of Portage Fire Department and their ambulance under their Mutual Aid Box Alarm System. The department is comprised of six-full time firefighter/paramedics, six part-time chiefs and 30 volunteer firefighters all under the leadership of Chief Bill Lundy.

All these men and women train just as much to do their job but must do it on a volunteer basis on their own time. South Haven Fire Department was the first volunteer department to have an Advanced Life Support ambulance and among the first in the state to have hydraulic rescue tools.

While this group of great guys and gals love to keep our communities safe; that doesn’t mean they don’t like to kick up their heels once in a while and have a ball. This last Sunday was a great example of this group putting on a great event that raised money for their philanthropic deeds in the community. The Red Carpet Ball was held at Aberdeen Manor and was a truly beautiful fundraiser consisting of dinner, dancing and silent auction for all kinds of great items. But that’s not all, several members were given awards for their achievements over the last year. Awards went to Adam Wood for Junior Firefighter of the Year, Dianaille “DT” Turnipseed for Probationary Firefighter of the Year, Captain Christopher Bellavia for EMT of the Year, Assistant Chief Tina Nabhan for Paramedic of the Year and Lt. Ricky Medellin for Officer of the Year. Congratulations to all.

The South Haven Fire Department has another fundraiser right on the heels of its Red Carpet Ball, Suds for a Cause. it is selling laundry detergent, fabric softener, dish detergent pods (200 pods) and degreasers that are comparable to name brand products in bulk. Each five-gallon tub, which comes with a pump, costs $35. You get the same 40 loads worth of laundry per half gallon at $3.50 versus $10 at the store. Orders must be in by the end of the month with an April delivery. Contact the department at 219-759-3919 or go to the station from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at 398 W. County Road 700 North.

All proceeds from these two fundraisers go directly to South Haven Fire Department to continue the good works they do for our community.

This column solely represents the writer’s opinion.