HIGHLAND — Town Council President Mark Herak has apologized for his involvement in an incident near the end of last week's Fourth of July parade.
Herak, D-2nd, said much has been made of an animated conversation he had with three firefighters from the Lakes of the Four Seasons over the wailing of their vehicle's siren as they participated in the parade.
The council recently declared no sirens were to be used during this year's parade because of complaints by parents with young children who are frightened by the loud noise.
"We received many compliments for that stance," Herak said. "Senior citizens, people who use hearing aids, parents with small children or babies."
Highland Fire Chief Bill Timmer wrote a letter that was sent to the other fire departments advising of the new policy. It was signed by Herak and Timmer.
"Our decision was based on our desire to make the Twilight Parade inclusive for all residents," Herak said.
Herak admits he began yelling obscenities to the driver and then approached the Four Seasons firetruck and slammed his hand on it.
The driver stopped the vehicle and got out to confront Herak.
Immediately prior to the incident, Herak said he was handing candy to a couple with their grandchildren near Fifth Street and Highway Avenue.
The youngsters covered their ears as the firetruck approached.
Herak said he told the family that was not necessary because sirens were not allowed at this year's parade.
"Just then you can hear the siren of the firetruck that has been blowing it all down Highway Avenue."
Herak said he went to the truck and yelled to the firemen to stop blowing the siren, but the accompanying noise drowned out his voice.
"So I climbed the running board, pounded on the door telling him to stop. He stops and gets out of his truck (asking) what I'm doing and I tell him no sirens."
According to Herak, the man said he had received an email saying he could activate the siren.
When told Highland sent no such email, the man got back into the truck as a police officer approached, Herak said.
Herak said, contrary to what others might be saying about the incident, he did not throw any punches, but it is "absolutely true" he was hot under the collar.
"My intentions were good, but the execution was bad," Herak said. "I felt bad afterward and have asked Chief Timmer to get his name and I'll call him. I'm mad at myself for letting the moment get the best of me.
"That is not my character or the image I want to portray of myself or the town."