SUN PRAIRIE (WKOW) -- Arnie Kleven has been fighting fires in and around Sun Prairie for the past 35 years.
Volunteering to be a firefighter is usually a much bigger commitment than your average volunteer gig. When you're on call and something happens, you go, sometimes leaving a family behind.
"You sit down for a meal and the fire whistle or pager goes off and they understand that you have to go," said Kleven.
John Austad has worked with Arnie on Sun Prairie's all-volunteer department for the past six years.
"He's very level-headed, calm, cool and collected, rarely raises his voice. But if it needs to happen, he will. He's helped mentor a lot of up and coming firefighters who have become officers and even chiefs," noted Austad.
In his three and a half decades in Sun Prairie, Arnie has served as firefighter, fire chief, assistant chief and face of the fire department, doing a lot of the fire prevention seminars at schools and community groups. But it's that call to action that keeps him here, whether it's a fire, a traffic crash, or a cat stuck in a tree.
Arnie Kleven's commitment to being there in emergencies big and small makes him worthy of this month's Jefferson Award.