Sheila Burner was unable to make it to her final Warsaw-Wayne Fire Territory board meeting Tuesday, so the group came to her.

Members of the fire territory board on Tuesday intended to honor Burner, the outgoing Wayne Township trustee, as well as Joe Streeter, who is stepping down from the board after 10 years.





The traditional bon voyage with plaques and well-tidings normally happens in City Hall’s council chambers. But Burner has been slowed by health issues and did not attend.

After the meeting, Mayor Joe Thallemer, who serves on the board, raised the idea of making a visit to her home a few blocks away on South Columbia Street.

After a call to let her know, Thallemer, Streeter, Fire Chief Michael Wilson, Councilman Mike Klondaris, Township Board member Gordon Nash and others drove over and filed into Burner’s kitchen where she was seated at the table.

“We all wanted to come down and show our appreciation for all the time you served ... your service not only to the fire territory, the township and the entire community. You’re right up there with the best,” Thallemer said as he presented her with a plaque with a dozen or so people huddled around in the kitchen.

Burner’s 12-year tenure coincided with the formation of the fire territory and construction of  Fire Station No. 3, which became operational this summer.

“Certainly, you did a whole lot more, but I know that really is probably your signature improvement,” Thallemer told Burner. “And, of course, all the trucks you purchased for the fire territory,” Thallemer said before being interrupted.

“Yeah, my water truck,” Burner shot back, drawing laughs over an obvious affection for the fleet of rescue vehicles she helped amass for the territory.

Wilson presented her with a framed photo from a moment at Station No. 2 with a caption that made clear she was the boss.

Streeter was presented with a plaque for his service during Tuesday’s meeting. Thallemer and Wilson thanked him for his work and service to the community.

Streeter’s daughter was a paramedic and his interest in fire and EMS services dates back to when he volunteered to serve as the third person on ambulance runs.

Streeter was the community representative on the territory board since its inception. He resigned because he moved out of the township.

Streeter and Burner’s connection dates back to 1972 when Streeter moved from Kokomo to take a management position with Farm Bureau Insurance.

Burner was Streeter’s first customer he worked with in Warsaw.

“She’s feisty and I loved it. She was a fun person. If I?heard her at the counter, I’d go pick on her.”

Wilson also recalled the first time he got to know  Burner, who happened to live in the same neighborhood near Prairie Street. They crossed paths after his vehicle was broken into. She found his wallet and checkbook in her trash can and sought to return the belongings.

“She gave me an earful about leaving my vehicle unlocked,” Wilson said.

Her strong personality was equaled by her dedication toward fire protection.

“She has been very, very dear to fire service in our community,” Wilson said.

“You hear her talk about her water truck, her tanker and her ladder truck,” Wilson said.

“She had ownership in the community. She had ownership in the fire territory, even before it was a fire territory.”