Dan Gengler spent more than forty-three years providing service to our country as well as many state and local organizations in a variety of roles. He served 26.5 years with the Milwaukee Fire Department in positions ranging from firefighter to chief officer. He was the Chairperson of the Wisconsin Alliance for Fire Safety for 24 years and spent 13 years as a regional manager for the National Fire Sprinkler Association. Dan also served four years as an emergency responder for the United States Coast Guard.
Dan’s career spanned three decades of fires that included many fatalities and injuries to both citizens and firefighters alike. Witnessing death, pain, and suffering of burn survivors first hand gave Dan the incentive to begin a fire, safety and survivor program throughout the state of Wisconsin. He earned Class "A" Team and Class "B" Meritorious Awards for on and off-duty rescues.
He helped establish the Wisconsin Alliance for Fire Safety (WAFS) Summer Camp for Burn Injured Youth, a.k.a. “Burn Camp.” As of 2015, this camp has provided more than 1,400 camping experiences to young burn survivors.
His work with the National Fire Sprinkler Association and the WAFS has promoted the value of automatic fire sprinkler protection. He has testified for state legislation to support fire sprinklers in Wisconsin, Illinois and Pennsylvania. He was an annual presenter for fire and burn safety at the Wisconsin State Fire Chiefs Association and Wisconsin State Fire Inspectors Association. He has also given many presentations to numerous organizations promoting the concepts he strongly believes in.
Through Dan’s many efforts and accomplishments, Wisconsin is a safer place to live.
On the morning of April 14, 2008 City of Manitowoc firefighter/paramedic Jacob Johnsrud was off-duty and enjoying a cup of coffee with his fiancée on the porch of her Milwaukee apartment when they were interrupted by screaming and calls for help. Johnsrud left the apartment and followed the sounds until he visualized two women. One was a young and noticeably excited woman. The other, a middle-aged female bleeding profusely from an ear-to-ear knife wound as a result of an attempted homicide. Upon seeing Jacob, the victim and her daughter fled across the street to his aid on the front lawn of his fiancée’s apartment. The victim was then no longer able to move under her own power. After instructing the victim's daughter to flee into the apartment, and his fiancée to call 911 and lock the door, Johnsrud used his own sweatshirt to help control the incapacitated victim’s bleeding by holding pressure on her wounds while also manually opening her airway. During this time, the assailant returned, presumably to “finish off” his victim. Johnsrud risked his own life by continuing to care for the victim, obstructing the assailant's access to the victim, and talking down the armed assailant, demanding the assailant leave the scene. The assailant eventually fled the scene but was later apprehended and arrested. The victim survived.
Johnsrud was presented with the Award of Valor from the City of Manitowoc. The Award of Valor is the highest honor the city can bestow. Johnsrud also received a merit award from the City of Milwaukee Police Department. The Milwaukee Police Department Homicide Division credited Johnsrud’s quick and selfless action in saving this woman’s life.