Fire hydrants have people seeing red

Thanks to the volunteer efforts of the Milaca VFW post, the nearly 150 fire hydrants in town are getting a fire-engine-red face-lift.

Milaca Mayor Pete Pedersen sent out a message seeking volunteers to paint the city’s fire hydrants. The Veterans of Foreign Wars answered that call.

“We discussed it and agreed to provide the manpower,” said Tom Kvamme, a VFW member who is heading up the painting project.

“It’s a way for us veterans to give back. It’s also a way to show that veterans contribute to our community,” Kvamme said.

Vietnam veteran Don Wills looks over his work after painting a fire hydrant in A Milaca neighborhood. wills and fellow VFW volunteers are planning to spruce up about 140 hydrants in the city.  Times photo by Jeff Hage

Vietnam veteran Don Wills looks over his work after painting a fire hydrant in A Milaca neighborhood. wills and fellow VFW volunteers are planning to spruce up about 140 hydrants in the city. Times photo by Jeff Hage

Before painting, the VFW members started out by pressure washing the city hydrants to make sure they were clean before a fresh coat of paint is applied. With 140 fire hydrants in town, the task will take more than a few days to complete. But with two crews — one power washing and one painting — the veterans anticipate completing the job this fall.

“We started on Fourth Avenue Northwest and had 13 done the first day,” Kvamme said.

They were on track to have 47 fire hydrants washed and painted by the end of this week, he said.

“This is a community-spirited improvement,” Kvamme said.

It’s also a project that will leave behind the mark of the Armed Forces.

After the fresh fire-engine-red paint job, the veterans are affixing one of five emblems to each fire hydrant. The emblems represent one of the five branches of the military: the Army, Marines, Navy, Coast Guard and Air Force. The emblems were purchased and donated by the Milaca VFW.

Pedersen is hoping some other volunteer groups will step up as the VFW has and add an artistic flair to some of the fire hydrants downtown.

“I’d like to keep them patriotic or fire-department related,” Pedersen said. “But people can come up with their own artistic things with the approval of the city.”

Pedersen said he’d like to see a whole bunch of different designs that will catch the attention of both city residents and people passing through town.

“If anyone wants to volunteer to be an artist, just give me call,” Pedersen said. He can be reached at 320-237-2657.

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