by Cori Hilsgen
Mike Lyon has retired from the St. Joseph Volunteer Fire Department after serving the city and the area for 20 years.
Lyon said he originally joined the department because he wanted to give back to the St. Joseph area, wanted to help people in need and wanted to get to know more people. No other family members of his have joined the St. Joseph Fire Department, but one of his brothers is retired from the Melrose Fire Department.
When he first joined the department, Lyon took a Firefighter I course and became state-certified. He also took first-responder courses.
Minnesota requires all firefighters meet their minimum hours of training on firefighting.
“This was met through attending the monthly drills,” Lyon said. “We also had training every year to keep our first-responder and CPR certifications current. To become an officer, you had to take Firefighter II courses.”
Lyon said the hardest part about being on the fire department was the time commitment involved.
“The department requires a lot of time,” Lyon said. “If you truly are active on the department, it takes a lot of time. My daughter has always said, ‘Dad either you are at work, at the fire department or hunting.'”
Lyon said there will always be some medical and fire calls that will stick with him, but for him the friendships built are the most memorable.
“I will not forget the people that took me under their wing and provided the training and mentoring,” Lyon said. “I only hope I have done the same for others.”
He encourages anyone who is thinking of joining the fire department to check into it.
“It’s good training and very rewarding,” he said.
Lyon is adjusting to his retirement from the department.
“It’s nice going to bed at night not wondering if the pager is going to go off,” Lyon said. “It has allowed me to focus more on the business.
Lyon said the main reason he decided to retire after 20 years was because of the time commitment. He said staying active took a lot of time.
“I did not want to be a member and only meet the minimum requirements it took to stay on the department,” Lyon said. “Being the owner of a growing business was requiring more of my time.”
Lyon owns Precise Heating, Air Conditioning, Plumbing and Refrigeration. He started the business out of his garage 11 years ago. The business, located in the St. Joseph Industrial Park, is now staffed by 22 employees.
Lyon has been married to Lori for 23 years. They have a daughter, Mariah, who is currently attending St. Cloud Technical and Community College.
Hilsgen is a contributing reporter for the Newsleaders. The central Minnesota native is a wife, mother and grandmother. She has a Bachelor's degree in Organizational Management and Communication from Concordia University – St. Paul, MN and enjoys learning about and sharing other people's stories through the pages of the Newsleaders.