SARTELL -- If you look up the word dedication in the dictionary, you'll find Claude Dingmann's name next to it.

For 36 years Dingmann has served on the Sartell Volunteer Fire Department, answering 3,447 calls and only missing 19.

"If you're going to do something, you do it right. That's how I was raised," says Dingmann.

Dingman says being a firefighter runs in his blood, with his grandfather and father paving the way.

"Dad would bring his coat home and hang it in the garage, so I remember when dad was at work I would take it off the hook and wearing it around the yard," says Dingmann.

The legacy continues as his son Lucas, a current captain with the department, follows the same career path.

"I was happy he wanted to do it. But I told him I wanted to make sure he had the time commitment to do it," says Dingmann.

Dingmann officially retired April 1st and says it's still a learning curve for him. His face can still be seen around the building from time to time lending a helping hand.

"I like to see things continue so I like to keep my fingers in it so it can stay the way we started it," says Dingmann.

He says he looks forward to spending more time with his grandchildren, but if a major fire like the paper mill should arise, he'll be ready to answer the call.

(Photo: Richard Leguil, WJON)
(Photo: Richard Leguil, WJON)

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