Change in Green Bay fire department ranks
By Heather Graves
GREEN BAY – As the Green Bay Metro Fire Department (GBMFD) welcomed a new generation of firefighters, it said goodbye to nine members, each hanging up their uniforms over the last year.
Combined, these firefighters have nearly 220 years of experience, some answering the call to duty for more than three decades.
Three fire staff, Steve Zich, Jon Fredrickson and Wayne Lane, retired within the past few months.
Six others retired over the course of 2020.
Engineer Steve Zich
Zich hung up his gear one last time on July 2 after serving Green Bay, Allouez and Bellevue for the last 22 years.
Zich began with the Allouez Fire Department on April 4, 1999, as an EMT-paramedic. Before coming on board with the Allouez department, and eventually GBMFD, Zich worked at the Austin Straubel International Airport for four years.
While with GBMFD, he worked at Stations 3, 7 and ended his career where he started, at Station 8.
When asked what he’ll miss the most, Zich said helping people in need, being there for those on their worst day and helping them through difficult times.
Captain Jon “JFred” Fredrickson
Fredrickson retired June 17 after serving the community for 35 years, beginning his career on March 26, 1986, as an EMT-paramedic.
Fredrickson worked his way up through the ranks over the years, serving at a number of different stations and becoming a leader on the GBMFD Urban Search and Rescue Team.
Fredrickson said he will miss working on ambulance calls, where every call is different, bringing new variety to each shift.
For Fredrickson, firefighting is a family affair – serving alongside his brother, Greg Fredrickson, before his retirement and his son, Joe Fredrickson, who is currently serving as a firefighter.
Captain Wayne “Wayno” Lane
Lane’s last official day was June 14, completing 30 years of service.
He started with the department on Oct. 15, 1990, as an EMT-basic, following in the footsteps of his father who spent 33 years on the job.
Lane worked at various stations throughout his career, climbing from the rank of private to captain.
With retirement, he said he is looking forward to spending more time with his family, hunting and fishing.
Battalion Chief Robert “The Good Wiegert” or “Box Card Bob” Wiegert
Wiegert walked out of Station 1 for the last time Dec. 19, hanging up a 31-year career with GBMFD.
Wiegert started his career in Green Bay on July 24, 1989, as an EMT-paramedic.
Prior to the GBMFD, he served on the Valders and Stevens Point fire departments.
Over his more than three-decade career, Wiegert climbed the ranks from private to lieutenant, and finally Station 1 battalion chief.
Wiegert said he will miss the interaction with people and the crews at the stations.
Engineer Jeff Huguet
After serving with the department for 17-and-a-half years, Huguet retired on Dec. 10.
Huguet started with the Allouez Fire Department on July 23, 2003, as an EMT-paramedic.
Before that, he worked for Ashwaubenon Public Safety for two years.
While at GBMFD, Huguet spent much of his career at Station 8, before ending his career at Station 4 as an engineer.
He was also a member of the Tactical EMS Team, which assists the Green Bay Police Department’s SWAT Team.
Huguet said he misses his fellow firefighters, which he referred to as his second family.
Battalion Chief Steve Sellin
Sellin started with the GBMFD on March 28, 1994, as an EMT-Basic, before retiring in November 2020 after 26 years of service.
He spent most of his career at Station 2, ending his career as a battalion chief.
He also served on the hazardous materials team, urban search and rescue team and the honor guard.
With his retirement, Sellin said he has been relaxing, spending time on his motorcycle and walking his dog on the lakefront of Milwaukee, where he and his wife are now living.
Captain Chad “Chadzilla” Hadzima
Hadzima spent his 26 years serving at Stations 2, 5 and 7 before retiring Sept. 1.
He started his career with GBMFD on Feb. 3, 1992 as an EMT-paramedic.
Hadmiza said he misses the talks around the coffee table with the crews in the morning, hearing stories from the past and interacting with people on calls.
In retirement, he said he is enjoying visiting places he’s never seen before.
Captain Michael “The Mole” Saduske
Saduske left his post as captain at Station 2 for the last time June 20, 2020, after serving 28 years with GBMFD.
Saduske started with the GBMFD Feb. 2, 1992, as an EMT-paramedic, after serving four years in the Air Force.
He served at every station within GBMFD, except Station 8, climbing the ranks from private to captain.
Saduske said he’ll never forget working on Med 5, when he helped deliver a baby on the side of the road.
Engineer Larry Wohlwend
Wohlwend walked out of the doors of Station 8 one last time June 2, 2020, after 25 years of service.
He started with the department on Aug. 1, 1994, as an EMT-basic.
Before that, he served in the U.S. Coast Guard for four years.
Wohlwend worked at nearly all city stations, ending his career as an engineer at Station 8.
Since retiring, Wohlwend said he has spent time traveling with his wife and finding new hobbies.
As the older generations hang up their fire coats for the last time, the new generation takes their place on the squad.
In May, the department officially graduated 10 new firefighters, welcoming them to the rigs May 8, serving the communities of Green Bay, Allouez and Bellevue.
Metro’s new firefighters include Brent Blomberg, Quinn Warner, Reese Varick, Ryan Burton, Adam Ronsman, Brigham Bramschreiber, Issac Tews, Shane Finnegan, Alexander Ebert and Kyle Reif.
Other department updates
The department will soon launch a new piece of equipment – a drone.
Staff said the drone will be used for various purposes, including providing comprehensive pictures of an initial incident, helping to assess response efforts and tactical decisions for large-scale incidents, assisting with search-and-rescue operations and providing picture/video live streams to the command post or Emergency Operation Center.
Over the next few weeks, select department staff will go through extensive training to become specialized operators.