Members of the Brainerd Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services Team may not have put out any blazes in the Green Valley fire that claimed 55 homes and buildings in the Menahga area, but their presence was very much appreciated.
Capt. Scott Strissel of the Salvation Army said about six volunteers helped feed and hydrate firefighters on Wednesday and Thursday with their new mobile kitchen/canteen. He estimated they served close to 500 meals during the two days. They also served water and Gatorade to the firefighters. The vehicle is equipped with a generator, which was put to good use during the fire.
“We were close enough to smell the smoke,” Strissel said.
The Salvation Army officer said his crew returned home about 3 p.m. Thursday after the DNR firefighters began to scale back their operation.
Tom Isle, one of the Brainerd area volunteers, said he heard of one firefighter who rescued several large horses by releasing them from a barn during the fire. The horses returned to their home once the fire was subdued even though the barn and out buildings were destroyed.
Isle said the firefighters told him the meals they were served were the best “fire food” they had ever had.
“It was a hot meal,” Isle said. “They’re used to getting cold baloney sandwiches. We fed them hot sloppy Joes with potato chips and a cookie.”
Among the other volunteers for the Brainerd Salvation Army who helped serve meals were Deb Isle, Bill Lakin and Jerry Majerus.