Fire station rescued from decades of wear

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Airman 1st Class Ridge Shan

FROM LEFT: Ron Sites, Fighter Country Partnership president and executive director, assists Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus, 56th Fighter Wing commander, during the ribbon-cutting ceremony Jan. 20 unveiling the newly renovated fire station at Luke Air Force Base. The renovations include remodeled rooms, high-efficiency lighting and new interior paint. Chief Master Sgt. Christopher Horsman, 56th Civil Engineer Squadron Luke Fire Department fire chief, was also on hand.

A ribbon cutting ceremony of the newly renovated fire station took place Jan. 20 at Luke Air Force Base.
Two newly bronzed fire hydrants have been placed one on each side of the entrance of the 56th Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Services fire station. Once inside, visitors get the smell of fresh paint on the walls, see new matching tiles in the hallway and see perfectly white ceiling tiles above.
While the fire station today is pleasing to the eye, things weren’t always this way.
“Prior to the renovation, the fire station was pretty dated; there’s no doubt about that,” said Chief Master Sgt. Christopher Horsman, 56th CES Fire Services fire chief. “The carpet was loose, had rips and was unsafe. There were also nine different kinds of tile between the bathroom, hallways and kitchen. Other than the bunkrooms and other additions built ten years ago, it hadn’t been updated since 1996.”
The idea to fund the renovation of the fire department was driven by Fighter Country Partnership along with the Fighter Country Foundation.
“It’s been a three-year process to identify areas on the base that need attention and if they’re not deemed mission critical, the Air Force can’t do anything about it,” said Ron Sites, FCP president and executive director. “The fire station immediately came to mind when we were identifying areas that needed support.”
FCF had to go through a unique process to ensure the project was approved.
“Creating an offer of gift wasn’t easy since nobody has done this before,” Sites said. “So when we submitted our offer of gift to Luke Air Force Base, we were the ones who created the wheel of how to go about doing something like this. There’s not another example of a project for a nongovernmental entity to come in and provide a gift of this magnitude in the Air Force.”
The project used $185,000 toward renovations, including new ceiling tiles, high-efficiency-light-emitting-diode lighting, a revamped kitchen with Corian countertops and brand new cabinets, three remodeled restrooms, new interior paint throughout the building, and more. In addition to the renovation, many items were donated to the fire station including theatre chairs, TVs, a pool table, an ice maker, a commercial-grade refrigerator, two sets of washers and dryers, and more.
For one Luke firefighter, the renovations are doing more than raising the firefighters’ quality of life.
“The renovations have definitely boosted morale around here,” said Staff Sgt. Garrett Christensen, 56th CES Fire Services logistics NCO in charge. “My favorite part of the renovations is the pool table because it brings everyone together and helps us get to know each other on a more personal level.”
With the renovation complete, FCF is looking forward to future projects.
“First and foremost, this project proves to the military we can accomplish something of this size,” Sites said. “Secondly, it proves to the community we can do it.”
Luke’s fire chief shares his gratitude.
“I could say thank you all day long but what this group is doing for us is beyond words — they’re taking care of us,” Horsman said. “It’s just a truly amazing thing how they’re putting their words into action.