Congratulations and Thank You, Aarron Jones

We hope our community will join us in congratulating and thanking Aarron Jones for becoming our Assistant Fire Chief! Mr. Jones has persevered as a volunteer firefighter in Marion for more than 18 years and was recently a captain in our department. Working  with Fire Chief Katie Mast, Mr. Jones will be responsible for various operational and administrative aspects of running the department, such as maintenance and training.

(On left) Asst. Fire Chief Aarron Jones, Firefighter/EMT Spencer Alrick Hale, and Firefighter Gary Webster during wildland firefighting operations near Little Bitterroot Lake
(On left) Asst. Fire Chief Aarron Jones, Firefighter/EMT Spencer Alrick Hale, and Firefighter Gary Webster during wildland firefighting operations near Little Bitterroot Lake

Walk-a-Mile Fundraiser for Smith Valley Fire Department

Firefighter Walk-a-Mile Sponsor Form
Firefighter Walk-a-Mile Sponsor Form (Click for downloadable .pdf)

Walk with our firefighters and other first responders to show support for Smith Valley as they recover from the senseless act of arson that destroyed some valuable firefighting gear! The event starts at 3 PM and will go until 9 PM this Sunday, July 31st! A special shout out to the Kalispell Fifth School District for the use of Legends Stadium for this event. We will have a booth set up at the north end of Legends Stadium where you can donate. Check out our auction table on the way into the stadium; there are some great donations from the businesses in our area for silent auction. Under the canopy, we will have water and other refreshments.

We’ve kicked the program into high gear to get the word out and to solicit sponsors and donations. We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of support for this cause. It’s very good, and humbling, to see. Offers of support have come in from both coasts of the U.S., and from Western Montana. We are expecting participants from Kalispell Fire and Law Enforcement, Missoula Police, Lincoln County first responders, Marion and Smith Valley Fire Districts, and many of the fine citizens of the Flathead Valley.

Let’s have some fun on Sunday! It should be a beautiful day, not as warm as it has been, so we’ll expect the firefighters to load up on the gear they’ll be walking with! Don’t miss our silent auction. Because of the generosity of the local retailers in our area, there are some fantastic items up for bid. 

On Tuesday, August 2nd, we will pass the donation proceeds to Chief DC Haas of the Smith Valley Fire District. KAJ television will be there, as well as The Daily Interlake. Marion Firefighter Tiffany Hamdan will make the presentation on our behalf. It was Tiffany’s idea that got this whole ball rolling.

You still have time to send donations. Just make checks payable to Smith Valley Fire District, and send it to: Marion Fire District, PO Box 939, Marion, MT 59925. Donations will also be accepted at the event on Sunday. Remember, the Walk-A-Mile goes from 3 PM to 9 PM on Sunday, July 31st at Legends Stadium.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call us or e-mail:, 406-854-2555, or Firefighter/EMT Brian Carter at 406-261-0475.

See you there!!

New Ice Rescue Boat

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” ~William Arthur Ward

This weekend the department conducted its annual refresher training in ice rescue operations out on McGregor Lake. The department’s new ice rescue boat got its first significant test. We are grateful to the non-profit that gave us most of the funds needed to purchase this extraordinary tool that improves safety for our rescuers and those needing rescue—the Flathead Electric Cooperative’s Roundup for Safety Program.

Snow Ball Fundraiser Tonight

The Marion PTO is hosting The Snow Ball, a community fundraiser, at the Marion Fire Hall tonight from 6-8 pm. This is a semi-formal dance, so dress up in your best and come dance the evening away. Light concessions will be sold and all proceeds will go to the Marion PTO to renovate the school’s field and to create a community walking and fitness path. This is a family friendly event. EVERYONE IS WELCOME TO ATTEND!!

Donations can also be made out to the Marion PTO and mailed to them in care of Marion School at 205 Gopher Lane, Marion, MT 59925.

New Hires—An Explanation

Prior to February 1, 2016, our department had an all-volunteer staff. We now have two paid employees—each of whom is a firefighter and an advanced emergency medical technician. Given that our community’s voters recently twice-denied our fire district’s trustees’ requests to raise property tax levies to be able to afford hiring fire station staff, we want to explain how we are now able to pay wages to our two new employees.

In early 2014 Flathead County finished building a fire station in the Ashley Lake area. Many properties near there were annexed into the Marion Fire District. At the end of 2015, our fire district began receiving a portion of the property taxes paid by the homeowners of annexed properties. The district’s finances also improved in 2015, because our volunteers and fire apparatus worked outside the district during the busy wildfire season to earn profits that exceeded expectations.

The additional revenue motivated the district’s trustees to hire two firefighter/AEMTs. The two employees will primarily work the daytime hours of Monday through Friday—the period when almost all our volunteers are working jobs outside the fire district.

Hiring these employees should provide a more consistent and efficient emergency response for the community of Marion. It will also relieve an ever-increasing workload burden on our volunteers created by state and federal requirements. However, we still need more volunteers, because many of our calls take multiple people to complete successfully.

Thank you to everyone for your ongoing support! We look forward to serving the Marion community in 2016.