By Janet Skinner
While discussing his retirement from the Rushville Fire Department, Dave Tiensvold stated, “I have very dear friends on this fire department. Probably the hardest thing is to leave these guys.”
Tiensvold grew up in Rushville, Nebraska and lives there today along with his wife Ruby.
It all started in 1971 when Tiensvold’s draft number was coming up. He went to Denver, got his physical and was preparing to be drafted. Fortunately, the draft ended before his number was picked. He decided to serve his country and town by becoming a firefighter. Tiensvold filled out an application, was put on a waiting list and in July of 1971 he was accepted to join the Rushville Fire Department.
Tiensvold reminisced about what they used for fire trucks back when he started. “We had a jeep and an army surplus four door dodge pick-up with a 100 gallon tank in the back of them,” he said. “Now we are one of the better equipped fire departments in the state,” added Tiensvold.
He also talked about how different it was concerning the regulations, which there was few of back then. Tiensvold told the story about an accident involving two boys that went through a windshield. As the kids were taken to the hospital, which was in Rushville at that time, one was in need of a blood transfusion. He recalls the EMTs rushing around asking if any one had the same blood type. It was Tiensvold who matched. He laid down on a gurney and gave his blood to the young man.
Throughout his 42 years on the department, Tiensvold has held every position except for chief and was an EMT for 15 years. For the last 25-30 years, he wasn’t sure exactly, he had been assistant fire chief.
Tiensvold’s experiences are endless and heart-felt. Being an EMT, he has had to respond to calls involving his mother, grandfather and people he knew in the community, and the same can be said being a firefighter. It didn’t matter the size of the fire, he responded to every call with all he had.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for all of my fellow firefighters. When you have to depend on someone I always felt those around me were trained good enough that I could give my life for them and they would do good,” Tiensvold expressed.
The bonds that Tiensvold has with his fellow firefighters made resigning an emotional decision. Working side by side in intense situations and being willing to give your life for the man next to you, and he would do the same, is very special to him.
Tiensvold is working on implementing a Senior Retired Active program to the Rushville Fire Department so he will still have a link to the department.