, 2023-01-08 09:00:00,
Firefighters by nature of the job are giving to their communities.
Between the long shifts, time away from family and putting out fires, firefighters give of themselves to the communities they serve.
For Brian Rummelhart, a recently retired firefighter, service through his job was not enough.
Outside of his profession, over the past 31 years Rummelhart has committed to serving the Kenosha community by assisting the Kenosha Firefighter CARE group, mentoring students at Hillcrest School, delivering Meals on Wheels, competing in charity runs and even appearing as Spiderman for birthday parties and other events free of charge.
Those efforts and others have earned Rummelhart the title of 2022 Kenosha News Person of the Year.
“It just feels good to help people,” Rummelhart said. “People help us (firefighters) all the time, so it’s good to be able to pay that back.”
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Those who know him have described him as “lighthearted” and “the first to lend a helping hand.”
“He always takes things in stride,” said Harry Tolbert, a firefighter who used to work with Rummelhart. “I always feel like he’s one of those unsung hero guys. He doesn’t look for anyone to pat him on the back for (what he does) or to be given any public accolades for it. He just always does it under the radar with a smile on his face, and never begrudgingly.”
Others admired him for his leadership and ability to remain calm in stressful situations.
“His optimism made the job fun and positive,” said Steve Allemand, a firefighter who worked with Rummelhart. “He made bad situations manageable and gave solutions to problems we faced. He was always able to keep a level head.”
Becoming a firefighter
Born in Iowa City, Iowa, Rummelhart has spent most of his life in Kenosha. His family moved to the area when he was in first grade, and he attended school in the area. Upon graduating from Bradford High School, Rummelhart started pursuing a career as a firefighter after considering and exploring the idea of the job in high school.
“It wasn’t a lifelong dream or anything necessarily,” he said. “But it seemed to fit. When I looked into it more, it seemed to fit.”
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