A community newsletter serving New Melle, Defiance, Augus​ta, Marthasville, Dutzow​​ a​nd surrounding areas.

NMFPD 2023 Awards Banquet at Defiance Ridge Vineyards

By Kathy Miller

The New Melle Fire Protection District held its Annual Awards Banquet on Saturday, February 11, at Defiance Ridge Vineyards. The evening began with opening remarks from Chief Dan Casey and a musical presentation from the Greater St. Louis Area Firefighter Highland Guard.
After dinner, the “One Year in Review” video, put together by Scott Repke, was played which highlighted clips of the many calls the district responded to; the crowd was truly grateful for Scott’s time and effort.

Chief Casey gave the State of the District update. He began with a brief overview of 2022. The NMFPD responded to 701 calls for service, an increase of 4% over 2021. The year 2020 saw an increase of 27%, so in the last two years, calls have increased by 31%.

The fire district as a whole received 3920 hours of training. Chief Casey stated, “For the department to grow, we must continue to educate ourselves. The following firefighters went above and beyond with their training: Mike Colbert - Fire Officer 2, Mike Webbink - Fire Officer 2 and Certified Live Fire Training Officer, Tom Fox - Instructor 1 and Fire Officer 1, Scott Repke - Instructor 2, Gabe Monroe - Rope Technician and Jonah Wilson - Rope Technician.”

Doug Busken and Josh Ellis became certified for the Missouri Task Force One. A FEMA rescue team that goes to disasters all over the world. This takes hundreds of hours of training to receive. Brennan Roberts and Jacob Casey were both certified with the State of MO - Firefighter 1 and 2. Chief Casey reminded the audience, “Firefighters must remember they are never good enough; they always need to be training.”

The NMFPD hired two full-time firefighters/paramedics, Ryan Austin and Jonah Wilson.

Sadly, in 2022 the district lost three citizens due to structure fires. The Chief was very proud of everyone who responded and how they handled the situations. He thanked everyone who risked their lives trying to save the victims. He believes it is the department’s responsibility to improve public education on fire protection and prevention.

The two new brush trucks have finally arrived and are in service. The department has a considerable need for more apparatuses; there is no reserve truck at this time. The district decided to replace two apparatuses in 2024-25. They ordered the apparatuses in 2022, and by ordering early and purchasing two at one time, they saved over $100,000.

The new station had to be downsized by 4000 sq. ft. When the bid came back, it was $2 million over budget because of inflation. New plans have been made, and the job went out for re-bid in February.

In closing, Chief Casey said, “We have more opportunities to grow as a department that has many hardworking members with an excellent vision for the future. We will have set-backs, and the road is not always smooth, but we must always move forward.”

The New Melle FPD Auxiliary presented a plaque to the department that has the retirees' names, titles and year retired. The plaque includes Larry Talbot, Rick Massey and Dave Moeller. The department was grateful for this thoughtful donation.

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 The Auxiliary presented a plaque for the department to Chief Dan Casey with the
previous retirees name and information.


The following firefighters took their oath and received their badges during the pinning ceremony Scott King, Grant Litteken, Cole Litteken, Kamryn Marcotte, Brennan Roberts, Gabe Monroe, Gabe Schneider and Jonah Wilson. Congratulations!

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Pinning Ceremony for (L-R)  Scott King, Grant Litteken, Cole Litteken, Kamryn Marcotte,
Brennan Roberts, Gabe Monroe, Gabe Schneider and Jonah Wilson.

The volunteer award for the most alarms out of Station 3 goes to Brian Smith and John Schneider. They were tied with 66. Most alarms from Station 2, volunteer Dan Ploesser with 61.

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Chief Casey congratulates Brian Smith (R), tied for Most Alarms Station 3

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John Schneider (R) tied for Most Alarms Station 3.

Chief Casey (L) and Chief Kevin Smith (R) present
Dan Ploesser (C) with the Most Alarms Award for Station 2.

The American Heart Association awarded The Heart Saver Award to Neil De Young, Adam Webbink, Dennis Goins, Doug Busken, and Steve Elfrink. This award recognizes those who have performed lifesaving CPR.

The Heart Saver Award was presented to (L-R) Doug Buskin, Neil De Young,
Dennis Goins, Adam Webbink and Steve Elfrink (not pictured.)

An Outstanding Service Award was given to Doug Busken for his hard work and dedication in keeping the trucks in service. Doug spent time on his days off helping maintain and repair trucks to get them back and keep them in service.

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Outstanding Service Award - Doug Busken (C).

There were three retirements announced. John “Bucky” Loyd. Bucky has been with the department for 47 years. Chiefs Kevin Martin and Dan Casey thanked him for everything he has done for the department over the years. Bucky was the Fire Chief from 1982-2005 and, in 2001, hired the first paid firefighters. He was presented with an honorary chief’s helmet and will be a Chief honorarily. Bucky will still serve on the NMFPD Board.

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John "Bucky" Loyd (L) with his Honorary Chief's Helmet with Chief Casey. 

Battalion Chief Tim Urban is retiring after 40 years with the department. Tim remembered when it was just him and Bucky responding to calls. The department had three trucks, so they would have to find rides back to the fire station to get the third truck.

Kevin Smith (L) and Chief Casey (R) congratulate Tim Urban (C) on
his retirement with a nice gift. 

Board Member Michael Moore is retiring after serving 37 years. Mike had been an advocate for the department before he was on the Board. Mike became familiar with the department in the early eighties from Kevin Smith, his now son-in-law. He was amazed at how the volunteer firemen would train on their own time and risk their lives responding to calls as volunteers. He felt the department was not getting the recognition and support it deserved at the time. In 1985, he organized a benefit dinner to help raise money as well as show the department support. Each member received a red jacket with the department's emblem, all donated. It was the first time they had any sort of uniform.

In 1986, Mike joined the board after Kevin asked him to fill in until the next election. That was 37 years ago! In 1990, the Moore family learned firsthand how important this department is in a rural community. Mike’s son was in a horrible accident, and thanks to the firefighters who arrived on the scene and performed life-saving measures until the EMTs arrived, his life was saved. The Moore family is forever grateful.

He was thorough and meticulous in securing the best benefits he could find for the department. He was mindful that he represented not only the firefighters but the taxpayers as well. The department never had to borrow money, paid off trucks early, and built two firehouses. Mike ended each State of the District address, he gave over the years with, “What if the alarm sounded and no one responded?”

Mike has received every award in the department, so in honor of him, Josh Ellis announced that the new firehouse and two trees will be dedicated to Mike. The district is forever grateful for his dedication, devotion and compassion.

Mike thanked everyone and thinks the world of the department. He still thinks the community should do more to show their support, and even in retirement, he will continue this effort. Mike ended with this, “He is proud of what the department has become and the way we got here.”

Kevin Smith (L) and Chief Casey (R) thanking Mike Mooore (C) for
all of his years of service. 

A heartfelt thank you to all the members of the New Melle Fire Protection District. This department does more for this community than most of us realize, so if you see a firefighter, be sure to thank them and show your support for this outstanding fire district.

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Ten of the original 12 firemen for NMFPD (L-R) Scott Repke, Dave Moeller, Mike Webbink, Larry Talbot,
Mike Moore (Board), Mike Colbert, Bucky Loyd, Jeff Capstick, Dennis Goins and Rick Massey.

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