LA FARGE, Wis. -- The La Farge Volunteer Fire Department is made up of 30 volunteers and it is run on a tight budget, according to volunteer fire chief Philip Stittleburg.
"This engine over here is actually a loaner," said Stittleburg.
That's because one of La Farge's fire engines was taken out of service because it was getting too expensive to maintain.
"Viroqua brought their engine down and put it in my station and said keep it as long as you need it," said Stittleburg.
This type of cooperation and support from a nearby community was a big gesture at a time when the La Farge Volunteer Fire Department didn't have money to buy a new engine.
But these students are learning that even small gestures can make a big impact when budgets are tight.
At an all school assembly, every grade-level in the La Farge School District was given $100 by the La Farge Lions Club to donate to the organization of their choice as part of the Club's "Giving Back" program.
"We didn't give them any ideas and they really came up with an amazing variety of projects and programs that they donated the money to," said Brad Steinmetz, La Farge Lions Club member.
Both the 9th and 11th grade classes chose the community's volunteer fire department as the recipient of their donation.
"We all sat around as a class and decided which ones were most important to us because a lot of the firemen are parents to a lot of our friends," said freshman Olivia Herken.
"I was very privileged by that," said Stittleburg.
A response many of these students didn't expect until they saw the donation recipients at this assembly.
"It was really touching, I guess," said junior Megan Dittmer. "I didn't notice it would be that big of a deal until today."
And it's this realization the La Farge Lions wanted to achieve.
"We're hoping they realized that they can make a difference," said Steinmetz. "That they can connect with people and programs and projects that have some needs."
"It's taught me that you really need to give back to the people who help a lot of people in the community so that they get rewarded for the hard work that they do," said Dittmer.
Thanks to these students, the reward for the La Farge Fire Department will come in the form of new equipment for their new fire truck which will arrive this Fall.
"We'll be buying things like nozzles. We'll be buying things like hose, ladders things of that nature that we have to get to equip the truck once the truck comes in the door," said Stittleburg.
And whether you're volunteering your time or donating you r money, the La Farge Fire Chief says he's grateful for the contributions of the students and the Lions.
"Volunteerism is the life-blood in communities such as ours, in whatever form, whether it's service on a village board, a school board, the fire department or the ambulance squad," said Stittleburg. "I think we all owe service back to the community that supports us."