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Hammann family full of men working to protect county

Hammann family full of men working to protect county

November 4th, 2013 in News

From left to right: Wayne and Galen Hammann, both CCFPD Asst. Chiefs; Capt. Robert Hammann; Lt. Jason Hammann; Chris Hammann; Matt Long; and Josh Hammann, all firefighters. Jason is Galen's son, Chris is Robert's son and Matt is Galen's son-in-law. Josh is a cousin and nephew.

The Cole County Fire Protection District has more than 70 members.

Seven of them are from one family.

The Hammann family grew up about a mile away from Fire Station 1 on County Park Road, where they serve.

Wayne has been on the service for 42 years; Robert, 32; Josh ,14; Chris, 16; Galen, 38; Jason, 14; and Matt Long, who married into the Hammann family, 10 years.

"When you get into it, you either love it or hate it," Wayne said. "After your first fire or car crash, you either stay or leave. For me, it was a way to help people who are in a dire situation. Every time you get toned out, every call is different."

"The first time you go out on a call you're hooked, at least that was the way it was for me," Robert said.

"It is a great way to help people, and there is that adrenaline rush when you're headed out to the call," Justin said.

"We were always around the fire station. It was natural for me to want to get involved so I could know what was going on," Chris said.

"I do want to point out that there is a misconception on the part of many who say that firefighters are there just to ride around in a big red truck and run a siren," Wayne added. "Working and riding the equipment is just a small part of what we do."

Working as many years as the Hammanns have, they have had plenty of interesting experiences.

"When I worked for Jefferson City, I can remember one time headed back from a call we'd gone out on and before we got back to our station, we heard another station was on fire," Wayne said.

"I can remember working a car crash on West Brazito Road which left a 14-year-old girl dead," Chris said. "That happened 13 years ago, but I can't forget that incident. There was another time I had ordered a pizza and we got toned out for an accident. It turned out it involved the driver who was headed out to deliver the pizza."

Wayne said since the advent of building codes in the county in the 1990s, it's about a 50/50 split between calls for fires and car accidents.

"We had a lot of old farm homes in the 1970s when the district was just getting started, and now things are being built better," he said. "We're getting more extrication equipment because more and more of our calls are for auto accidents."

It's not just going to emergency calls that take up a firefighter's time.

"We have meetings and training, so there's a lot of time away from the family," Robert said. "Our families have had to learn that plans can change very fast."

"There's been many times I've had plans to go out with my family and have had to drop them because I had to go out on a call," Jason said.

"We do want to thank the citizens of Cole County, because when voters approved the formation of a fire protection district in 1993, that really helped," Wayne said. "That led to us getting more equipment, stations and training, and improved things immensely. When I started, we had three trucks, one station and 10-12 fire fighters. Now we've got eight stations, 30 pieces of equipment and 72 firefighters."