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Take note, nonprofit organizers and all those who host community events in Sedona, the key to a high turnout is free pancakes.

Cami Kazian and Lukas Pico help Christopher Fox Graham, managing editor of the Sedona Red Rock News, place a 50th anniversary edition of the NEWS in the time capsule. Station  No. 6 opened in the Chapel area of Sedona off State Route 179.That bit of wisdom comes courtesy of the Sedona Fire District, which used the flat batter breakfast staple to bring out more than 350 people on a Saturday morning, notable for being the only day in April with wet, near-freezing weather and a freak sprinkling of snow to the high country overlooking Sedona. Pancakes prove irresistible despite the worst weather, but the event was far more significant.

The breakfast was part of the grand opening of SFD Station No. 6. Hundreds of Sedona residents packed the new station’s vehicle bay, took a tour of firefighters’ dormitory and common area. They heard speeches from SFD Fire Chief Kris Kazian, the building’s architects, contractors and SFD Governing Board Chairman Ty Montgomery, who noted the building was completed under budget and ahead of schedule.

The station is far from lavish — it is a simply designed, efficient assemblage of brick and concrete built to endure decades of heavy use the firefighting shifts will put it through.

Part of what drew such a large crowd was likely the time it took to finally build the needed station in the Chapel area of Sedona.

First proposed eight years ago, the eventual station endured three incarnations of the Governing Board, a recall election, four fire chiefs and dozens of front page headlines and editorials in our newspaper.

All those years came to a celebratory close as former board members, active and retired firefighters, SFD administrative employees, Sedona City Council members, community members and dozens of children came to watch the “ribbon cutting” — the ceremonial decoupling of a fire hose, a tradition for a new firehouse.

Former Governing Board members and those former fire chiefs — Matt Shobert, Nazih Hazime and Terry Keller — joined Kazian and the current board for the final ceremony.

Afterwards, two further events demonstrated SFD’s involvement with the community as a whole and Station No. 6’s special significance:

The first was the sealing of a time capsule filled with community comments and memorabilia, due to be opened in 2035, when many of the children running around at the ceremony will have children of their own.

The second was the dedication of a plaque to fallen Arizona Department of Public Safety officer Bruce Harrolle, who was killed in 2008 while assisting SFD rescue a stranded hiker.

The new station serves as a permanent monument that first responders from SFD and other emergency agencies sometimes pay the ultimate price to keep Sedona residents and visitors safe.

For anyone who was unable to attend the ceremony, I invite you to schedule a tour and see what tax money efficiently well-spent can provide our community.


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