WEST WEBSTER, N.Y. (WROC) — In West Webster, three generations of one family all serve side by side at the local fire department.
Twins Gerry and Gene, Tim, Dennis, Jennifer, Brad, Randy, Charity, Ryan, Amber, and Nancy: 11 firefighters from the Kohlmeier clan. Together, they make up about ten percent of the volunteer force there.
Gerry and Gene said the tradition started back with their father in the 1940s and 50s when he worked for the Genesee Conservation League.
“And we volunteered with them and our turn came with the fire department,” said Gerry.
Gene said apparently, volunteering and service to the community — Hey — it just runs in the blood.
“It’s been quite a journey through all the trials and tribulations of parenthood, plus, volunteering in the fire department,” said Gene.
Tim and Brad Kohlmeier, the middle generation, said the service and excitement of response in their own backyards sold them on joining the ranks.
“There’s a lot of problem-solving and energy that goes into it. It’s something we’ve been attracted to as a family,” said Tim.
On October 31, all the members of the Kohlmeier family responded to a fire at the Webster Walmart, the blaze shutting down the store for hours. Brad said there’s nothing like being all together and having each other’s back.
“It’s a very good feeling to have us all next to each other and seeing the generations on-scene,” said Brad.
The youngest member — 15-year-old Amber — said it’s wonderful being able to learn from two older generations.
“Overall, it’s just a good experience for me,” said Amber.
Gerry and Gene say, for young people out there like Amber, volunteer with anything. It’s vital. “It’s critical to the survival literally of a town,” said Gene.