Maple Lake’s firefighters honored at annual banquet

It was a night to honor the best of the best as the Maple Lake Fire Department hosted its annual banquet at the Maple Lake American Legion on January 25.

The top honors for the evening went to Tom Neu as Maple Lake’s Firefighter of the Year and Harold Brutlag, who retired after 35 years of service to the local fire department.

In announcing the selection of Neu as Firefighter of the Year, Maple Lake Fire Chief Todd Borell applauded Neu’s six years of service as the fire department’s treasurer and the countless hours of assistance he provided during the construction of the addition at the fire hall. “He is very valuable to us,” Borell said.

However, Neu pointed to the contributions of others as he accepted his award.  “There’s a lot of people that do a lot more than myself at the fire department,” Neu said. “There’s a lot of people who do things behind the scenes. I’m just one of many who puts in a lot of time.”

Before the recognition of Brutlag as this year’s retiree, a moment of silence was observed for Clarence Rasset, a retired fire fighter who died during the past year.

Brutlag said that when he first joined the fire department, it was a considerably smaller outfit, with only four vehicles as compared to the current 10 in the fire department’s fleet. “The fire department has certainly come a long way,” he said.  Brutlag thanked the current and retired firefighters who served with him.

“The whole community can be proud of our fire department,” he said. “They are a dedicated group of individuals who have served our community well over the years.”