By Tanna M. Friday, For The Tribune
TRUSSVILLE — On Monday, April 25, the Trussville Fire & Rescue Station 1 was given a custom-made kitchen table built by Mike Pender, who several firefighters know, and wanted to do something special for the department.
“I had the honor of building a dining table for the Trussville Fire Department (TFD),” Pender said. “When Lieutenant Brandon Jones and Chief Chris Schmohl asked me if I would build them a table, they pointed out how sacred the firehouse table was to the fire departments.”
According to Fire Engineering, there is no more sacred place in a fire station than the kitchen table. The average firefighter will spend approximately one-third or more of his life at the firehouse working with a team of other professionals with the same common goal, which is to accomplish the mission, serve the community, be there, ready to go when the bell rings, and be the best they can for those who allow them to serve in such an important career within the fire service.
It is here at the sacred table where the department’s problems are solved and where the crew eats their meals, a place to get to know the crew, just have fun while waiting for the bell to go off, or deal with many assigned tasks such as firefighter training, company fire prevention inspections, hydrant maintenance, and public education sessions. This second family consists of those who we are fortunate to serve alongside on every shift for 12 hours, 24 hours, 48 hours—any length of time.
“The only criteria was that the table should be a 9′ x 4′,” Pender said. “They also requested that all four units be represented as well, including Battalion 1, Rescue 1, Engine 1, and Ladder 1. The wooden handles were removed from the four fireman axes, and I used a blacksmith to fashion metal handles to support the table.”
According to Pender, the table and benches used over 15 gallons of an epoxy finish. The Maltese cross in the center of the table, complete with flames, and the four fireman axes holding up the table were all a complete surprise for the TFD.
“The table was made from northern Pennsylvania Red Oak,” Pender added. “Wood in the north grows much slower and has a tighter grain, which makes it a better wood.”
“He did an amazing job, and we are truly grateful,” TFD Chief Tim Shotts said. “The design of this table, all the way to the legs made from an axe, is extraordinary.”
The Trussville Fire & Rescue surprised Pender with the presentation of a custom-made fireman axe to show their appreciation.
“Chris Schmohl handed me some brackets and said that they appreciate the table, and these were in case I wanted to hang up anything,” Pender said. “I didn’t know what to say. Then Brandon Jones stepped up and handed me the fireman axe. He told me again how important and sacred the firehouse table was to fireman.”