Beatrice Firefighter Finishing Over Four Decades of Public Safety Service

BEATRICE – It’s not often someone surpasses over four decades at a job.  When it involves serving the public safety of others, that’s even more special.

Beatrice Firefighter and EMT, Michael Arterburn will wrap up a firefighting career at the end of this month.  Combined with his grandfather and father, there’s been an Arterburn on the Fire Department for over 75 years.

:09                  “years in”

The 44 years of front-line service is almost assured of being a record for the Beatrice Fire Department, and maybe for firefighting across a much-wider region.

Mike says when he started, you would ride the tailboard of the fire truck.

:23                  “single digits”

Today, Firefighters ride in climate-controlled cabs…out of the elements.  Arterburn says the training requirements are much more stringent today, mainly because firefighters do more than fight fires or perform extrication.  They are also EMT’s and Paramedics.

:31                  “to do that”

Arterburn said he’s been fortunate to not be injured in his more than four decades of firefighting.  He recalls on two occasions, helping to remove bed-ridden residents through heavy smoke of a fire.  As for the most memorable fires, a 1977 fire at Frey’s furniture Store downtown, stands out.

:21                  “to stand by”

Although not directly involved, Arterburn also recalls arriving on scene at the Poling’s business fire, where a backdraft caused injuries.

:12                  “then released”

Although he’ll be retired by the time it is completed, Arterburn says he’s happy that the city will be building a new fire station, to accommodate today’s larger equipment.   Voters approved a half-cent sales tax for that project.  The project has been under study over the past twelve years and will finally come to fruition.

:32                  “towards that”

Mike will retire at the end of this month.  His last official day on duty, is January 27th.  He and his wife Lesa hope to do some traveling, to visit daughters and granddaughters in Omaha and New Mexico.

He said the biggest adjustment will be getting a full night’s sleep, without being called out in the middle of the night.

A retirement reception for Michael Arterburn is planned for February 16th, at Risky’s Sports Bar and Restaurant from six p.m. until ten p.m., with the public invited.

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