- Marathon Petroleum’s St. Paul Park refinery in Minnesota kicked off 2023 with a community investment grant to bolster the response capabilities of a neighboring fire department.
- The Hudson Fire Department, located not far from the refinery in Wisconsin, used the funding for essential communications headsets and hearing protection aboard its new rescue boat.
- The department, through mutual aid agreements in Wisconsin and Minnesota, can respond to calls along the St. Croix River, as well as the Mississippi River if needed.
“Community partnerships make all the difference,” said Tom Barthman, Health and Safety Officer at the Hudson Fire Department in Hudson, Wisconsin.
Barthman would know. This year will mark his 45th year of service in the field of public safety—almost 30 of those years with the Hudson Fire Department.
“I retired once but couldn’t hang up the hat entirely,” said Barthman, the 2020 Wisconsin Fire Firefighter of the Year.
Throughout his career, Barthman has sought ways to improve the services his department provides to the community and people they serve. That commitment recently led Barthman and the department’s chief, Drew Spielman, to Marathon Petroleum’s community investment program.
“Marathon has a reputation here for supporting public safety agencies like ours and providing mutual aid if called upon,” Barthman added.
“We are proud to support programs and projects that create a positive impact in our communities. It’s a big part of who we are.”
Answering the call
Hudson Fire had recently purchased a new rescue boat but needed some outside assistance for hearing protection and headsets to improve safety and communication between emergency response crews on land and on the water.
“Fire departments provide critical services to local communities by protecting the people and the places they serve,” said Austin Fontenot, the refinery’s general manager.
Fontenot joined other representatives from Marathon in late January to present Hudson Fire with a $3,900 grant to fulfill the department’s need.
“Through our community investment program at Marathon, we are proud to support programs and projects that create a positive impact in our communities,” Fontenot said. “It’s a big part of who we are.”
The refinery was happy for the opportunity to respond.
Through Hudson Fire’s mutual aid relationship with surrounding departments, including Marathon’s onsite fire department, this boat and its upgraded communications system is available to respond to calls along the St. Croix River, as well as the Mississippi River if needed.
“The noise from the engine and hose make it nearly impossible to communicate without these headsets,” Barthman said. “Currently, our land rigs are equipped with them, and now thanks to Marathon, our boat will be, too.”