Stillwater's new Pierce aerial is white with orange stripes and says “Go Pokes” on the side as well as a black ladder showing mascot "Pistol Pete"
STILLWATER, Okla. — The partnership between Oklahoma State University and the City of Stillwater has always been crucial to the success of each institution as a whole.
Stillwater and OSU sprang up almost simultaneously over 125 years ago, and their connection remains strong to this day, with their latest partnership culminating in an OSU-branded ladder truck for the Stillwater Fire Department.
Friday, dignitaries from Stillwater, OSU and Payne County united to unveil the new truck and host a wet-down ceremony to signalize the truck’s activation for duty.
A Pierce aerial fire truck, it is white with orange stripes and says “Go Pokes” on the side as well as a black ladder with Pistol Pete.
Kyle Wray, interim senior vice president for executive affairs at OSU, said the truck is a symbol of the importance between the school and the city.
“I just wanted to come over on behalf of President [Kayse] Shrum and the Board of Regents at Oklahoma State and say how thankful we are for the relationship we have with everyone here,” Wray said. “The fire engine is great, and it is symbolic of the relationship we have with the county, the city, the chamber. Every day we go to work at OSU, we are thankful for those relationships. The most important thing to say is thank you for those first responders who are here today, all across the county and the city. Without you, we would be nothing and are especially thankful for your service and dedication to the city of Stillwater.”
Stillwater Mayor Will Joyce said the truck shows that because the partnership between Stillwater, OSU and Payne County continues to succeed, everyone benefits.
“We are really, really appreciative here in Stillwater to have partnerships with the county and with the university,” said Joyce, who took a ride up the ladder later in the day. “That allows us to bring wonderful, beautiful, functional new equipment to our fire department for all of these folks who put their lives on the line day in and day out to protect our community, and we want to make sure they have the best, nicest, most useful and most functional equipment. We appreciate the work that they do every day.”
Payne County Clerk Glenna Craig said the sales taxes that the county passes is what keeps the rural stations going and provides the means for new equipment like the truck.
“We are true Payne County residents and enjoy our partnership. We believe that it is important to support our community,” Craig said.
Trish Ranson, a Democratic state representative from Stillwater, echoed Craig. She believes that taxpayers will be proud of the shiny, new OSU-branded ladder truck.
“I think the partnership itself is the true definition of community, and the fact that if we all pool our resources together then we can have a benefit that benefits all of us,” Ranson said. “I think that is what this fire truck does and what it represents.”
Stillwater Fire Chief Terry Essary thanked everyone who came to the ceremony and invested time in putting the truck together, saying that putting all of the parts of a new truck in place, plus putting it through all of its rigorous tests, takes a lot of work.
He led the attendees in a wet-down ceremony, with the firehose from former truck No. 1 spraying the new truck before the old truck is replaced by it. Then, everyone took a towel and dried it off before putting it back in the station, signaling it was ready for duty.
“The ceremony itself represents when the old firefighters would bring their horses back from the fire, and of course they are dirty and nasty so they would wet down the horses and clean the horses off,” Essary said. “Then they would wet down the wagons, unhitch the horses and push the wagon back in to symbolize they were ready for the next call.
“We are honoring the legacy of the past and the people who came before us and the sacrifices they made to get us to where we are. It is to celebrate the accomplishment of what we have been able to do together, and it is to celebrate the future.”