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Five Family Members Work Together in Mid-MO FD

Gary Berendzen surrounded by his children, from left, Adam, Jennifer, Eric and Jesse. The family currently serve on the Cole County Fire Protection District. Photo Credit: Mark Wilson/News Tribune.

The idea of becoming a firefighter when they grew up just seemed natural for the Berendzen children.

Their dad, Gary, was always going out on calls; and his children, if they could, always wanted to see their dad in action.

“I was right there looking out the windshield and looking at all the lights and saying, ‘this is awesome,” Gary’s son Eric said.

“We found out that the fire department isn’t just a department; it’s a family,” Gary’s daughter, Jennifer, said. “I’ve known the guys on the department all my life.”

It was the same for Gary’s other children, Jesse and Adam. All five family members serve with the Cole County Fire Protection District and are currently or have in the past served with the Jefferson City and Holts Summit fire departments.

“I can remember Dad’s pager going off and hoping I’d hear him say we needed to jump in the truck and head out to a call,” Jesse said. “I always wanted to be the person to push the button to turn the lights on Dad’s truck. When we’d get on the scene, he’d tell us to stay in the truck; but the truck had a back window that would slide, and we’d get out into the bed of the truck to get a better look at things.” Continue Reading →