A generous gift provided to the David City Volunteer Fire Department more than two decades ago recently enabled team members to complete a sizable renovation to the dated facility.
The project, which got rolling earlier this summer, took about two months to largely complete and has revamped the building’s facade. The project was made possible because of a $40,000 donation provided in 1998 by county resident Coyle H. Fadschild.
Fire Chief Matt Hilger said Fadschild moved to David City in 1980 after farming land north of Rising City for some time. Fadschild, who died in October 2007, gave the donation with the stipulation that the money not be touched for 20 years.
And just like that, $40,000 grew to about $90,000 – enough for the department to put a sizable chunk of cash toward the approximately $110,000 project.
“So what we did, we put it in a series of CDs (Certificate of Deposit), because back in the day CDs used to actually be worth something compared to now,” he said, with a laugh. “So we would shift it from one thing to another over the years trying to get the most benefit of it, and we got it up to about $90,000.
“And since that number kind of fell real, real close to the number of what this project was going to cost us for this face lift, we decided that it would be a good use for that type of money.”
Working with Lincoln-based structural engineering group HGM Associates, the front of the station was reduced to its bones.
“They rebuilt it to make it kind of look a little more consistent,” Hilger said. “Because the east half of the building was added on in 1978, and when that happened, it really felt like it really was completely separate. The design was different, the front overhang over the doors – everything about it was different from the west half of the building."
Now, it looks like a single, cohesive unit, with the both portions sporting fresh coats of red and grey paint. The two segments’ roofs, which previously were visually staggered, now are a more even line making the station look more singular and streamlined.
"It looks like a nice, consistent straight line across the front there,” Hilger said.
In addition, all of the old front-facing doors were replaced with modern firehouse technology as to allow for aerials to get in and out of the building in the most effective manner possible.
Hilger said that several different designs were analyzed and that the goal was for the fire station to look nice, but not too gaudy. The overall downtown scenery was taken into account, though it didn’t really affect the outcome of the project because the chief said there isn’t really much architectural consistency in the downtown area.
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But the department, 552 D St., now stands out like a gem. It’s something that the 40-person volunteer squad can be proud of every day.
Wyatt Marvin is one of the volunteers who feels proud of the progress that’s been made over the years. The now 24-year-old man joined the force when he was 18, and said that the renovation resulted in a night and day difference.
“It’s amazing to see just in my time the change, and I’ve seen both sides of it,” he said. “And not that the department itself was run down, but it was really dated. There is now a new facade, and we’ve always been a group to show pride, but now we have a building that we can be really proud of, as well.”
Marvin noted that community members wanting to learn more about the project and department operation as a whole are invited to attend an open house set to run from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 13, at the Butler County Event Center, 62 L St., in David City.
Hilger said that some fine-tuning is still being completed, but that the building is pretty much good to go. Last week, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held with the Butler County Chamber of Commerce and other community members to commemorate the progress being made at the facility.
One key piece is still missing, though. It’s a piece Hilger and the other firefighters feel very strongly about.
“We are going to do a memorial thing out front that is clearly going to state how the major upgrades we have done were largely funded by this gentleman, and his generous donation,” Hilger said. “We think that will be a good way to do a forward-facing thing that really gives him the credit that he deserves for a donation of that size that is making a huge difference.”
Interestingly enough, the exact rationale behind Fadschild’s donation largely remains a mystery. But living in small-town Nebraska, Hilger is acutely aware that sometimes, people just feel compelled to do a little something good.
“It was probably one of those things where, I guess, I just assume that was the kind of guy he was,” Hilger said. “… A lot of people who live in a small town like this realize what we do, the time that we put in and what we put ourselves in the line of.
“And a lot of times they just respect that. And you don’t even ever really hear about it or think about it until something like this (donation) happens.”
Sam Pimper is the news editor of The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.