By Shavonne Potts
LANDIS ó Landis Mayor Mike Mahaley called the new fire station construction project a labor of love. If the attendance at Thursday’s dedication ceremony is any indication, the town is deeply surrounded by love.
Guest speaker U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole thanked the firefighters for the jobs they do. “You’re on the front lines,” she said.
Dole said that at one event she attended, someone found and presented her with a fire prevention essay she’d written as a child.
She went on to say her father-in-law was a firefighter.
“Let me tell you, we are a family who really believes in you,” Dole said.
Dole and John Cooper, U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development state director, presented the town with a ceremonial check for more than $1.2 million that represents the loan for the fire station and fire engine.
Afterward, Dole had a moment many children dream of ó she climbed into one of the station’s newest fire trucks.
“I’m tickled to death,” Mahaley said later. “I think it’s beautiful. It’s also what the firemen needed.”
He’s proud of the new fire station and of renovations to the council chambers, which had a noisy air conditioning unit and lacked restroom facilities within the building.
The chambers now also have a handicapped-accessible bathroom and a mini-kitchen.
Mahaley said he thinks an overwhelming majority of the residents like the facility.
People who’ve driven through the town have stopped to say how much they like the buildings, he said.
“It’s one of those days you’re proud to be mayor,” Mahaley said.
Fire Chief Reed Linn reminisced about his father taking him to see the fire trucks roll out on calls as a child.
Linn talked about the work of the firefighters. “What they do, it’s a call to action … they heed that call every day.”
He dedicated the facility to past and present firefighters as well as the residents of Landis.
Anita Propst of Landis heard about the event and decided to make the dedication ceremony an educational outing for her two children, who are home-schooled. She was also excited to see Dole.
“It’s gorgeous,” she said of the facility. “It’s amazing what they have here.”
She said it was good the town provided the opportunity for people to view the station.
“We needed it. It reminds you that Landis has that small town feel,” Propst said.
Barbara J. Walker Architecture of Concord worked on the project. The fire station cost just under $944,000, and the rest of the work cost $350,000.
Rowan County resident Gary Goodman liked everything about the new fire station and refurbished council chambers.
“I think anytime you improve yourself, it makes everybody feel better,” Goodman said.
“It makes everyone feel a part of the process,” he said, when the residents can “see what their money is going to.”
South Rowan Senior High JROTC presented the colors and South Rowan Senior High Chorus sang the National Anthem.
Jarrod Lanning, pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, prayed a blessing over the structure.
By Shavonne Potts