SW Wisconsin community rallies behind families of fallen Mineral Point firefighters

HIGHLAND, Wis.– “Thank you for your service” is one of the simplest things you can say to a first responder. It’s even more powerful when you show it.

Dozens of firefighters and hundreds of the men and women they protect spent their Sunday helping in a different way, the Wisconsin way: hosting a chicken BBQ fundraiser for the families the two Mineral Point firefighters killed in the line of duty in January left behind.

“In a small community, a familiar face really means a lot to them,” said Highland Fire Chief Curt James.

James only knew Capt. Brian Busch and James Ludlum through work, but in firefighting, professional relationships quickly become personal.

“Everyone will see the fire scene or the crash scene, but not everyone sees the training and the hard work that goes into it,” fellow firefighter Tom Michek told News 3.

Michek never met the firefighters killed when their fire truck was turning into an emergency cross-over just outside Mineral Point, but he explains there’s a special bond between all first responders that ‘regular people’ can’t understand.

“There’s a lot of risks people don’t know about. The time. The manhours it takes, even at the volunteer level,” he said.

Still, many ‘regular people’ showed up Sunday, including a familiar face and Highland native, our Leah Linscheid.

“These are people I grew up with,” a casually-dressed Linscheid told our photojournalist. “A lot of these folks knew the Mineral Point firefighters that were killed. But a lot of them didn’t. And it doesn’t matter. They’re still going to step up for their small town and make sure they’re supported.”

Not just saying, but showing their gratitude.

Missed today’s fundraiser? Click here for more information from the Highland Fire Department on other ways to support Capt. Brian Busch and James Ludlum’s families.