A family tradition
Teri Hively — Balaton fire and ambulance
BALATON — The Hively family of Balaton is an important part of the city’s success in maintaining a local fire department.
Teri Hively has served as a Balaton firefighter and emergency medical technician for 28 years. Two of her sons, Jared and Jacob, are also Balaton firefighters. A third son, Jordan, is a fireman in Tracy.
“My sons followed me into it,” Teri Hively said. “It’s a family tradition. I’m blessed to be able to work with them.”
Balaton has a total of 18 firefighters, and is looking for more. Hively said the department is large enough at its current size to be able to cover most situations on its own.
“We have enough who are available on weekdays, and others who can respond at night and on weekends,” she said. “There’s always enough coverage. If we get anything that takes more people, we can always call for mutual aid.”
Hively works with ambulances at her job as well as in her role with Balaton’s fire and ambulance crew. She serves as the Support Services manager at Avera Tyler.
She began to serve as an EMT in Russell. When her family moved to a farm site near Balaton, she was immediately asked to help the community as an emergency responder.
She decided to cross-train for the fire department as a way to make an additional contribution. Balaton has had a group of female firefighters in recent years.
“I learned a lot from the older crew members,” Hively said. “They believed in me and had faith in my ability. I try to do the same thing now for our younger members.”
She said one of her most memorable fires involved a mutual aid call from Marshall. A fire truck from the Marshall department was destroyed when a grass fire advanced faster than the crew could move its truck to safety.
Other memories include several different major accident scenes and a barn fire in which fire responders were obstructed by hay bales.
“We had to climb over the bales in full gear to reach the fire,” she said. “We put forth a lot of effort before we could even begin to put it out.”
She finds that the satisfaction of helping people compensates for the challenges that go with seeing friends and neighbors faced with emergencies.
Another important reward of being part of the fire department is the support fire crew members provide each other on a continuous basis. The department meets regularly for trainings that prepare everyone for whatever they might encounter when responding to calls.
“We’re like a family,” Hively said. “We all know each other really well. We’re a unified group with the main goal of being there for everyone in our service area.”