Lansing Fire Department and the community it serves help to raise funds for veteran firefighter’s battle with cancer once again

A display of brotherhood ... Bill Bartels of Lansing holds a plaque with his helmet and name placard from his firefighting coat as fellow Lansing Fire Department members (left to right) Troy Hill, Joe Manning and Tony Becker present him with the commemorative display along with the funds raised from their second “Bald for Bill” benefit held during Lansing Fish Days weekend August 9-11. This is the second time during the past three Fish Days celebrations department members have offered to have their heads shaved in an effort to raise funds to help the Bartels family defray expenses from Bill’s treatment of non-Hodgkins lymphoma, being first diagnosed in 2017 and having the cancer return this year. Submitted photo.

Losing their locks for a fellow firefighter ... Lansing Fire Department member Keith Schwartzhoff (above photo, having his head shaved by Heather Darling, daughter of fellow fireman Jeff Darling), was just one of the nearly dozen members of the volunteer department to have their head shaved in a fund raising effort for fellow firefighter Bill Bartels, who is battling non-Hodgkins lymphoma for the second time in two years. This is the second time the Lansing Fire volunteers have helped the Bartels family with such a fund raiser in support of defraying medical and other expenses related to Bill’s cancer treatment, collecting nearly $5,000 between the department’s two head shaving benefits held during Fish Days weekends in 2017 and again this year. Submitted photo.

Losing their locks for a fellow firefighter ... Lansing Fire Department member Joe Manning (above photo). Submitted photo.

Losing their locks for a fellow firefighter ... Lansing Fire Department member Tony Becker (above photo, having his head shaved by his own daughter, Payton). Submitted photo.

Having proven time and time again that they are dedicated to coming to the aid of their community, it is certainly no surprise that members of the Lansing Fire Department have also been more than willing to step up to help out one of their own during a challenging time.

When Bill Bartels, a 31-year veteran of the Lansing Fire Department, recently received word that his non-Hodgkins lymphoma had returned, his fellow firefighting volunteers once again answered their call to duty, volunteering to have their heads shaved in an effort to raise funds for the Bartels family to help with expenses related to Bill’s most recent treatment. It was two years ago, when Bill was first diagnosed, that his fellow volunteers did the same thing.

“Two years ago, right before Fish Days, Bill was diagnosed with cancer, and the week of Fish Days, during set-up, a few members got together and put some thoughts together on what we could do to support our friend, Bill, who has been a member of the Lansing Fire Department for over 30 years,” explained Lansing Fire Chief Tony Becker. “That’s when the idea came up of doing ‘Bald for Bill’, and for every $100 tip that came in, that person could pick a fireman to have his head shaved.”

Chief Becker said there are many reasons why members of Lansing’s volunteer fire crew were more than willing to help out one of their own.

“First off, firefighting is a brotherhood and close-knit family, so when one of your brothers is going through a tough time it is only natural to want to help any way you can,” he explained. “Second, Bill has been a member of the Lansing Fire Department for over 30 years, so he has been a friend, brother and mentor to many of us younger guys, and we just wanted to show our appreciation for him and his service to the community.”

Although many of the Lansing firefighting volunteers offered their heads for the “Bald for Bill” benefit once again, in a comforting reversal of that helping hand trend within the department, it has been the generosity of the local community that has now helped the Lansing Fire Department raise nearly $5,000 for the Bartels family in its two fund raising efforts. “The citizens of Lansing and the surrounding towns are always so willing to help out people who are going through tough times and that is very evident every time there is a benefit of some sort in the area, so again, we had no doubt that people care and would be willing to help out,” Chief Becker shared.

Nearly a dozen members of the Lansing Fire Department had their heads shaved during the most recent Fish Days weekend fund raiser, including Tony Becker, Joe Manning, Tony Diersen, Troy Hill, Colin Steiber, Conrad Rosendahl, Ross Steiber, Chandler Quirk, Keith Schwartzhoff, Steve Darling and Chubby Mohn. Rosendahl, who is also Chief of the Lansing/New Albin Police Department, stepped up to the head shaving challenge after a hat was passed during the Fish Days Saturday night musical performance of “Smoking Gun Showdown” at the Lansing Fire Station, an effort that raised $600.

“It’s amazing and touching to see people in not only Lansing but the entire county come together to show their love and support for others in tough times,” Chief Becker summarized. “Whenever I hear of stuff like this, attend a benefit myself, or help organize a benefit, I always come away so amazed at the outpouring of support from everyone, from the businesses and individuals who donate, to those who are able to attend and buy things. I often am reminded of why I decided to stay in Lansing and raise my family here, and this last weekend was a nice reminder of that by the showing of support for the fire department during our annual fund raiser and for our brother/friend, Bill Bartels. I love serving this great community with the great guys that I am fortunate to serve with.  I’m sure the guys would all agree with me when I say that our thoughts and prayers are with Bill, Sue and the entire Bartels family, and we look forward to having Bill back at the station with us soon.”

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