Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

Friends and Neighbors: Bob Nagel


October 5, 2017

Tonia Copeland/Western Nebraska Observer

Bob Nagel recently moved to eastern Nebraska to be closer to his kids and grandkids. Nagel retired from the Kimball Volunteer Fire Department just prior to Fire Prevention Week, after serving for 33 years.

After 33 years as an active fireman on the Kimball Volunteer Fire Department, Bob Nagel, has moved on. He and his wife Corrie moved to Lincoln last week to be closer to their children and grandchildren.

Born and raised here, Bob graduated from Kimball High School in 1974 and attended University of Nebraska-Kearney until 1978.

He began his employment with the Farm Service Agency in Rushville at that time, but returned to Kimball in 1984.

Bob married Corrie Schilz, a 1984 grad of Kimball High School, and the two raised their children, Shayla and Shawn here.

He was a member of the Rushville Volunteer Fire Department and decided to join the KVFD when he moved back home.

In the beginning he was a member of several organizations, but as he and Corrie began adding to their family, he chose to remain with KVFD.

"It is a lot of time away from family, so to be an active fireman, you have to have your family on board," he said.

He continued serving the community through the department for the past 33 years and has seen many changes, including upgrades to trucks, addition to the building, and purchases of new equipment.

The biggest change is the demand for continued training. As a volunteer unit, Bob said, these men do not get paid for training exercises or for fighting blazes.

KVFD is always looking for new, young firemen. This calling is demanding at times, but is always rewarding according to Bob.

"One thing for a young person is that joining the fire department in Kimball will open up so many avenues to others in the community," he said.

In addition to keeping the community as safe as possible, KVFD is active in the community often leading local parades, providing children's rides and games for town celebrations, opening up the fire hall for the community and offering support for all.

"We have a real strong fire department, they are very active in fire prevention activities," he said. "We have had great leadership over the years; we have built a very effective department over the years which our community is very proud of."

Nagel said that community support is evident in the leeway employers show for volunteer firemen in Kimball, as well as in the generosity of time, money and spirit when the department hosts fund raising events.

"Over the years, our Chiefs have been very conscious of the reputation of the fire department. They don't want fighting with department clothes on. They are very conscientious and we have a good reputation."

He said that the two things he is proudest of is the reputation of the fire department and volunteers and the community support.

"The community support is just unbelievable," he said. "I remember one time we needed to raise $10,000 to buy a Jaws of Life. I think we raised it in ten days in this community."

The department will host an open house and soup supper Oct. 18 as a free-will donation fund raiser and social event for citizens.

"We try to have this as our only fund raising event," he said. "We are very fortunate, we make enough to keep our operation going and do a few things, like the scholarship we give out each year."

Bob retired from FSA in 2016 and his last effective day as a fireman was Sept. 24-33 years with the local department, most of which were spent as the secretary of the organization.

"I have been proud to serve! I am leaving it in good hands, we got a lot of good young go getters and strong leadership. This is one organization I committed to years ago and I am proud to be a member," Bob said.


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