City College students restore truck for volunteer firefighters


MSU News Service

A City College student spray paints a wildland fire truck, which will be presented tonight to the Park City Volunteer Fire Department.

City College at MSU Billings will host a reception to present a newly restored fire truck to the Park City Volunteer Fire Department tonight at 6 in the Automobile Collision Repair and Refinishing Technology program lab.

The reception will recognize the staff and students involved in this service-learning project, the Park City Volunteer Fire Department and community partners on the project, after which the truck will be unveiled. The public is welcome to attend.

“We wanted to give back to the fire department for their hard work and firefighting efforts over the last year,” instructor Steve Wodrich said. “It’s how City College says thank you.”

Eight students in the collision repair and refinishing class worked during the fall 2017 semester to restore a Type 4 wildland truck for the Park City Volunteer Fire Department. The department purchased the truck in Washington state to upgrade its fleet of wildland trucks, but determined it needed a new paint job.

Wodrich had a small-town connection to the fire department and got the ball rolling for the class to restore the truck. He obtained approval from City College’s Advisory Board and approached community partners for donations to keep costs of the project down.

The class worked on the truck for two months. During the course of the project, students learned about the much larger scale of tasks that it takes to restore a truck of this size. They gained experience in planning, time management and spraying of a larger vehicle. This project was a service learning opportunity where students gained real-life skills, gave back to the community and were able to use the professional training.

“Steve is innovative, doing great things, and truly moving our auto program forward,” City College Dean Cliff Coppersmith said. “His program epitomizes what City College is all about — preparing students for employment in their chosen fields.”

The fire truck is a Type 4 wildland truck complete with four wheel drive, which is something that other trucks in the fleet don’t have. It also carries an 800-gallon water supply and can haul five fire personnel. It will be used for wildland firefighting and will be the second vehicle in command for vehicle accidents.

“The final product is awesome,” Kellan Kamerzel, training officer for the Park City VFD, said. “I am proud to be able to tell people that students at City College painted this truck. This is a great program with state-of-the-art equipment.”

This project was made possible with support from Billings area businesses including: Denny Menholt Frontier Chevrolet, AA Truck Collision, Carstar Auto Body Specialists, Hanks Auto Body, and Duck’s Painting Shop. Due to their support, additional tools, lights and equipment were bought and installed on the truck by the students at City College.

“Another positive outcome from this project is that one of my students is likely to be hired by AA Truck Collision, once she completes the program,” Wodrich said.

City College has the only collision repair program in the state of Montana.

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