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Rummage sale aids Osceola Fire Department

OSCEOLA, IND.-- The town of Osceola has had a lot of controversy involving the fire department and the leaders that were in office. However several key officials were removed and now midway into the year, residents in the town are seeing some big changes.

This weekend a large rummage sale was held to raise money for the fire department and at the same time save the town funds.

The Osceola Auxiliary made up of 7 women along with fire department volunteers have been collecting gently used garage sale type items from community members and this holiday weekend they are selling the items outside of the Osceola Fire Department.

Katie Bowers who has been volunteering with the Osceola Auxiliary unit for decades said, "This one has turned out really good, so it's a positive response for us."

Even before the sale was over, organizers werecalling it a success.

Bowers said, "We are stronger and we are more united because of it."

Bowers isn't just talking about the sale and the items that were donated. She's talking about the Fire Department personnel changes that took place in mid December of last year.

"There was bad blood," she said.

EMS Officer Mike White said, "I was thinking about leaving."

White is one of the few volunteers that actually stuck it out during the personnel controversy between the old fire department administrators and the town's council members.

White said, "with the old regime it was kind of micro-managed. Now we are like a big family and everything is voted upon."

Chief Walter Tochman said, "What really went down between the town and the old regime- I don't know."

Tochman said it got so bad working for the past fire department's administration that he resigned last year after he had volunteered for more than a decade.

Tochman said he was called back by the town's council in December and asked if he was willing to come back and take on the role as the Fire Chief.

Bob Schrock, one of the town's councilmen said, when they called in Tochman they already forced the fire department's top 4 personnel leaders out the door.

He said he couldn't comment on the specifics behind why the town council asked them to step down simply because it is a personnel issue that is private.

White said, "The reconstruction of the fire department is taking us places."

One place that is evident is the right at the fire house and it's a change some of the town's people feel safer seeing.

Tochman said, "They are seeing more and more of us here during the day as where before- they did not see nobody."

Bowers said, "It's become such a family oriented fire department which is wonderful."

Councilman Schrock said the new Fire Chief was able to get one of the department's fire rigs fixed free of charge- saving the town of Osceola $6,800.00."

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