For the second time, Dan Dolson–owner of Lodi Shell–has won the Order of the Towman award for his service to the Lodi Police and Fire Departments.
Presented by American Towman magazine, the Order of the Towman is a honor given to those in the towing industry who go above and beyond in their service and assistance to their local police and fire departments. Prospective honorees must be nominated by either the local police chief or the local fire chief. This year, without knowing the other did it, both Chief Smith of the Lodi Police and Chief Annen of the Lodi Fire submitted a nomination letter for Dan.
Fire Chief Bobby Annen said “Dan was a no-brainer. If there were 50 business owners like Dan, Lodi would be amazing”. In an average year, Dan–through the Lodi Shell towing and used car sales–donates about a dozen vehicles for the fire crews to practice on. These may be trade ins that aren’t worth resale, dead cars that can’t be repaired, or vehicles that have been totaled in collisions.
The first thing the Fire Department uses these vehicles for is to practice emergency entries. Chief Annen spoke about the need for firefighters to keep in practice so when it’s a real emergency and there’s a person trapped in a vehicle, the skills flow naturally from the practice.
The second use is fire practice. The vehicles are taken to a safe location and set on fire. The fire crew can then practice the skills needed to put the fire out–without having a person inside.
Dan’s help goes beyond just doing his job. During the recent fire of Lucky’s Hotel in Okee, Dan–who is not a member of the Fire Department–manned the hydrant that was being used to fill trucks until the dry hydrant in the lake could be prepped and primed for use.
Dan was a little more circumspect about how he assists the police, but aside from bringing in vehicles which don’t have a valid driver (such as drunk driving arrests), he provides the police department with vehicles to be used when a marked cruiser would not be appropriate.
When asked why he goes out of his way to assist in these ways, Dan’s reply was one commonly heard in the Lodi Valley: “This is my home”. And that’s generally explanation enough.
Dan will fly out to Baltimore the weekend of November 11-13 to receive the honor.
A Lodi native, Blaze attended the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay where he graduated with a degree in theatre technology & design. He has traveled extensively throughout the United States and the world–including a 6-year stint in China. He has been a teacher, a writer, a designer, and is the founder of the Redleaf Consulting Group.