Up North: Rice Lake Volunteer Fire Department honors fallen first responders with 5K

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The sound of sirens kicked off the ninth annual family-friendly Chief Frantz Red Run 5K at the Rice Lake Volunteer Fire Department. Finding yet another unique way to get over 160 people of the Northland up and moving.

“I was nervous at first, but then during the race I just kept telling myself, this is very fun. So that is how I got through,” said 13-year-old participant Elsie Juten.

The race wasn’t only to get people active, but every year serves as a symbol of remembrance for the Rice Lake Volunteer Fire Departments late chief.

“The Red Run 5K came about when our fire chief passed away in the line of duty in 2013 and we were really looking for a way to honor his memory and carry on his legacy. So, the Chief Frantz Red Run 5k was born in 2014 in retrospect for that,” said current RLFD Fire Chief Mark Niemi.

All proceeds from the event benefited the Rice Lake Firefighters’ Relief Association whose motto is to ‘minimize the loss of life and property resulting from fire, medical emergencies and other disasters.’

The race was capped off with food from Liege Waffles and B&B market, there was raffle prizes, along with an obstacle course for kids that honored Randy Hiti, another fire fighter who passed away on the line of duty in 2015.

“He was a big proponent of Fire Prevention Week and bringing over the home crop third graders from elementary school and really instilling that fire safety message into the kids. So, we thought what better way than to have a kid’s race named after him,” continued Niemi.

“We hope that it gets bigger, and more people enjoy coming out and having a good time, but it’s really about just continuing the legacy,” Niemi concluded.