In some people, the call to service runs deep. Frank Trapanese, paid on call firefighter for the Red Wing Fire Department, has been answering the call for 40 years. This year is Frank’s last with the RWFD; after four decades of serving the Red Wing community, he’s retiring from duty. Through his time with the RWFD, he’s seen a lot of changes in both the Fire Department and the city, and he has some incredible stories to tell.
Frank has been intrigued by firefighting since childhood but didn’t join the ranks of the Red Wing Fire Department until years after returning to Red Wing from college. He hadn’t actually intended to return to his hometown after graduating, “but I met my future wife [at college], and that was it,” he says, chuckling. As a paid on call firefighter, Frank feels he had the best of both worlds—he pursued his own career, but still got called in for the “big stuff” or, as he refers to it, “putting the wet stuff on the red stuff.”