Here are some names from Belgrade’s past, specifically 1906: Clark Audulools. August Bertelsen. Jo Cluyell. W.W. Cliff. They were Belgrade’s first four volunteer firemen.

And now, to honor and recognize the hundreds – yes, hundreds – of volunteers who have staffed all the volunteer fire departments in the Belgrade area for the last 115 years, Belgrade’s Central Valley Fire Department is hosting a free barbecue dinner July 24 at 6 p.m. at Fire Station No. 1 on Wings Way.

Yes. Free food, in honor of every past volunteer fireman for the city and rural districts, including Dry Creek, Reese Creek and Springhill.

In 2020, Belgrade residents voted to annex into the Central Valley Fire District, essentially disbanding all the local volunteer fire departments.

“We wanted to have a large banquet to honor all these volunteers,” Fire Chief Ron Lindroth said.

On July 24, the doors will open at 6 p.m. and dinner will start at 7, he said. The banquet will be catered by Bar 3 BBQ and is free. “All you have to do is RSVP on the District’s website,” he said.

According to Lindroth’s records, some 675 volunteers since 1906 have handled the hoses and trucks to keep everything from burning down in this region in the shadows of the Bridgers.

“We don’t have it broken down by area, but as far as we can tell, 675 people have served in some capacity since 1906” when Belgrade formed its first volunteer fire department.

“After everything was annexed, all the rural volunteer departments were disbanded. The city of Belgrade Fire Department, officially formed in 1909 as the first rural fire department in the state, went away.

“The annexation ended the legacy of the Belgrade volunteers. This is a way to tell stories, to honor the volunteers,” Lindroth said.

“We’ll have dinner, a guest speaker, our former chaplain, and a special surprise Memorial Award,” Lindroth said.

To RSVP, go the Central Valley Fire District web page. There’s a red banner across the top: Select ‘About Us/Calling All Previous Members” where you can sign up.

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