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FLW firefighters praise hospitality of SE Missouri city hit by ice storms
DUNKLIN, Mo. (March 9, 2009) — Mayor Roger Wheeler, Sr., of the southeast Missouri city of Dunklin recently received a letter from Robert Sperberg, the assistant fire chief of the Fort Leonard Wood Fire Department, extending gratitude to the community for its hospitality and graciousness during the department's tour of the city following the ice storm.

"On behalf of our fire department and the crews that served under me during our recent tour of providing mutual aid fire and rescue services to your community, Feb. 5 through 7, allow me to extend our most sincere gratitude to your community," Sperberg said.

With the challenges the community was facing, the department expected to experience an environment of self survival during the stay, according to Sperberg. But that was not the case — the department was met with an immeasurable level of hospitality that extended throughout its stay.

"Your fire chief, his department, the other city staff members, and the community not only made us feel welcomed, but also very appreciated," Sperberg said.

Sperberg added that the department anticipated relying on M.R.E.'s for nourishment, but instead received warm "home cooked" meals that were very much appreciated.

Dunklin Fire Chief John Mallott placed trust upon the assisting department, allowing them to take over the Kennett Fire Department and run incidents as seemed necessary, according to Sperberg.

"He [Mallott] provided us with very competent, polite, and respectful fire apparatus drivers who not only saw to our needs at the fire stations, but performed flawlessly at many emergencies," Sperberg said.

The provided drivers safely transported personnel to several incidents and were of priceless assistance while the team worked diligently to mitigate emergencies, according to Sperberg.

"As an incident commander it was of great comfort to know that our crews were being assisted by such competent professionals," Sperberg said.

Throughout the assisting department's stay, the team responded to several emergencies including multiple house fires and serious medical emergencies. The crews assisted in a non-emergency fashion as well, doing well-being checks, moving frozen food into a refrigerated box trailer, clearing storm debris from the fire station grounds, moving generators, and walking through the Red Cross shelter during power outages, according to Sperberg.

"Everywhere we went we were met with very grateful citizens who repeatedly extended passionate thanks to our personnel," Sperberg added. "Undoubtedly Kennett is a wonderful community as illustrated by the fact that despite facing significant adversity, the citizens remained hospitable and ensured that we knew how much we were appreciated."

"It was our distinct pleasure to serve your community during this time of need and sincerely hope that the level and quality of service provided was adequate to your needs and exceeded expectations," Sperberg said.

This article is reprinted courtesy of the Daily Dunklin Democrat. The original article can be found at http://www.dddnews.com/story/1508684.html

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