Since the county fire department took over fire rescue service to Hernando Beach earlier this year, much work has been completed inside and outside of the former volunteer fire station. On Aug. 4, 2017, the commission recognized the efforts of all those involved to clean-up the firehouse, while simultaneously building community connections.
Deputy Chief Kevin Carroll explained that a group of artists who offered to paint fire hydrants were recruited to paint murals on the bay doors of the firehouse.
“About five or six months ago Mr. Krou contacted me to get a group of the artists from Hernando Beach together and paint our fire hydrants…” Because of regulations, they weren’t able to paint the hydrants, but they were able to kick off a firehouse initiative by painting the bay doors, Carroll explained. The firehouse initiative is an effort to solidify relationships between the community members across the county and the Hernando County Fire Department. In Hernando Beach, the initiative was greatly needed due to issues with and subsequent shutdown of the volunteer department.
Expressing gratitude for those involved with the renovations at the Hernando Beach Firehouse, Carroll said, “Over the past few months, they have done a tremendous job.”
Chief Hechler remarked, “The community came together not only to donate the supplies, but also donate their time and show their pride in the community. The outpouring of … support from the community has been amazing… The next step is going to be an old fashioned firehouse festival fair. That’s going to be the grand reopening of the Hernando Beach Station 6... on Aug. 19th.” The event will take place from 11AM to 3PM. BBQ will be provided to the public and they are expecting 800 to attend.
The local Home Depot donated paint, others donated scaffolding and monetary contributions. Community members brought food to the firehouse for those volunteering to clean it up.
After the volunteer department vacated, the county firefighters immediately began cleaning up the fire station. They created signage out of surfboards and an American Flag hangs inside the firehouse made out of old firehose. The firefighters often worked on their days off to get the firehouse into shape.
Deputy Chief Carroll said, “Our firefighters want to be part of this community- want to be part of all of the communities where our firehouses are and they want to be on a first name basis with these folks.” He said that they aim to make it “your firehouse in your community.”
All of the commissioners thanked the artists, community members and firefighters for working together to create a positive outcome and build community.
Commissioner Allocco said, “You took a situation that was very divisive out on Hernando Beach and turned it into a community builder that’s the definition of leadership.”
Commissioner Champion remarked that he hasn’t received any phone calls about fire rescue service problems since the switch to the county department was made, so that’s a testament to the good job they are doing out there.
Hernando Beach resident Diane Greenwell photo documented the transformation of the bay doors and created several Youtube videos of the process. “I think we’re going to see a lot more happening in the coastal areas,” she says. She stated that with overcrowding issues on the Weeki Wachee River, other areas where residents can take advantage of the water are very important.
For their next community project, artists, Steve Krou, Diane Liptak and Dan Garrett have volunteered to repaint the Hernando Beach sign at Triangle Park changing it from “Nature Coast” to “Adventure Coast” and using the new Adventure Coast logo.
The following list of volunteers who contributed to the Hernando Beach Firehouse project was provided to The Hernando Sun:
• Steve Krou, Project Initiation/Coordinator, Theme Designer, Tracer, Painter (mural #1-4) and supplies
• Diane Liptak, Theme Consulting, Projector & computer Setup, Tracer, Painter (mural #1-4) and supplies
• Dan Garrett, Tracer, Painter, and supplies (mural #1-4)
• Roxanne Campbell - Painter (mural #1)
• Crystal (Beth) Wheeler - Tracer and Painter on (mural #4)
• Stacy Muia - Tracer and Painter on (mural #2)
• Eileen Benak and Erin Daly - Tracers
• Terry Crawley/Seacoast Construction - Scaffolding loan
• Joel Silver, Computer adjustment of theme photos murals #1-3
• Diane Greenwell - Process photographer, video producer & editor, projector loan and operator
• Cheryl Ferreira /Home Depot, Paint and supplies donation
• Cliff Wylie - Cash donation for supplies & ladder and table loan
• Joy Martinez - Paint brushes & Cash donation for supplies
• Tim LaRoche/HBFR Chief, Gladys Moore/HBPOA President , Anonymous, Anonymous, Sue Sutcliffe, Patricia Cordova, R. J. Gordon, Tim White, Gina Haines, Vicki Anderson - Cash donations for supplies
• Laura Cotrell/Valero Convenience Store - Donation of paper cups and lids
• John Wilson - Provided one of the three photos incorporated into mural #3