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I’ve had the privilege of training several classes of firefighters over the last few years. It usually doesn’t take much beyond the first couple of classes to find those that have heart for the fire service. Sheila Ahlum was easy to spot. She absorbed information like a sponge. She asked questions, sometimes approaching me after class with a certain question because she was afraid the question was “dumb.” None of her inquiries were dumb, they were all centered around making her department the best it could be by doing her part to know all she needed to know. Firefighter Ahlum showed determination to overcome anything thrown at her. With every class I teach, I take a piece of each person with me. Often times, these candidates are teaching me by showing me how to relate to those that have chosen to give their lives in service to others. When I heard about the loss Spout Springs FD and William and his family had experienced, my heart was broken. Why? She was too young. She has a family, and had a lot of years left to serve. While these questions are hard to answer, I know that our Bible teaches time after time that God rewards those with a servants heart. I know that somewhere over the horizon, Shelia Ahlum has been rewarded for her service and will watch over her husband, her children, and her fire department, just as we all will. Today, our flags fly at half staff in her memory. -Deputy Chief Heath Pannell

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