Search This Site
News :: IFA convention to include tribute to late Parkersburg firefighter Mitch Johnson
· 3:27pm September 4th, 2013
Along with the fun, the dancing, the contests and catching up with old friends from across the state, the 2013 Iowa Firefighters Association Convention will include a unique, informal tribute to a firefighter who has died since the last convention.
Mitchell "Mitch" Johnson, a 29-year veteran of the Parkersburg Fire Department, died in November of from injuries sustained when he was struck by a falling tree while cutting wood.
Johnson was a member of an informal group of firefighting friends from several departments throughout Iowa who called themselves the Urly Group. Firemen from several departments, including the Cedar-Mt Auburn FD, are part of this group, who camp together at IFA conventions.
On Thursday, the URLY Group is planning an 8 p.m. parade of golf carts -- friends say riding around the camp site in a golf cart was one of Mitch's favorite IFA activities. Participants are asked to gather at the URLY camp site (marked, of course, by the URLY flag) at 7:30 p.m. At 8, what organizers call "the biggest, bad-a-- golf cart parade ever seen" will wind around the IFA campsite. See Mitch's obituary, with links to a Guest Book already signed by firefighters from all over Iowa, HERE.
"URLY," says Kristi Lutz, the wife of Mt.Auburn fireman's Dan Lutz, "is a group of people mostly made up of people from Parkersburg, Mt. Auburn and a few from La Porte and other departments. They go early (hence the name) to convention every year, usually starting the Friday before the week of convention. Basically it is a big group of people who have become close-knit friends through fire convention and other fire department-based activities. Mitch was a huge part of the URLY group and was a super nice, caring person."
Donations will be accepted for a memorial to Mitch at the Parkersburg Fire Department.
Convention attendees have a chance to buy raffle tickets for a variety of firefighting-related items, including quilts, stained glass windows and other items. Dave and Pat Morrow of Vinton made and donates several stained glass windows. Mark Phippen created a stone pillar with several firefighting designs. Other gifts include a real fire hydrant (designed for use as a lawn or garden ornament) and metal art work.
Waterball fights Thursday, Friday
While the main public events will take place on Saturday, in downtown Vinton, there will also be waterball fights on Thursday and Friday near the IFA camp site along Second Avenue. An Old-Timer's event, followed by the co-ed contest, will take place Thursday afternoon. The lady's waterball fight will take place on Friday afternoon.
A contest the IFA calls "drills" -- activities related to the use of water, hose and other firefighting equipment -- begins at 8 a.m.on Saturday, near the courthouse, after a prayer at around 7:50.
Those drills will continue throughout the morning. The main waterball contest will begin at around 1 p.m.
Parade starts at 6 p.m.route listed
The parade of fire trucks and related vehicles begins at 6:30 p.m.on Saturday; line-up begins at 5.
The route begins on 8th Avenue near the railroad tracks. The vehicles will travel north then go one block east to 9th Avenue, winding past Virginia Gay Hospital before heading back to 8th Avenue to 4th Street, then along the Boulevard to the downtown area. After passing through downtown, the route leads south on B Avenue to 5th Street, then to Second Avenue then to the fairgrounds on Second Ave.
Lost Pony near Parkers Grove Church area
V-S School Board candidate profile: Kyle Schminke