Cramer carries on family tradition of firefighters


Big Walnut and Elm Valley Fire Stations

By Alberta Stojkovic - For the Sentinel



Photo of the Ashley Fire Department between 1883 and 1890 when Brandon’s third great-grandfather Willis Cramer was in the department (front row fifth from left.)

Photo of the Ashley Fire Department between 1883 and 1890 when Brandon’s third great-grandfather Willis Cramer was in the department (front row fifth from left.)


Photos by Alberta Stojkovic Aim Media Midwest

Big Walnut Fire Chief Lauri Lovell swears in Brandon Cramer with the oath of fire fighters at Big Walnut Joint Fire District. He then signed the Pillar of Pride beside his father Rick’s name.


Photos by Alberta Stojkovic Aim Media Midwest

Brandon Cramer will proudly carry the number of his grandfather Phil Cramer 365 on his helmet for Big Walnut.


Photos by Alberta Stojkovic Aim Media Midwest

MARENGO- Big Walnut Fire Chief Lauri Lovell gave the oath of fire fighters to Brandon Cramer at the November 10 Big Walnut Board meeting in Marengo.

Cramer is a proud third generation firefighter for Big Walnut Fire Department in Marengo following his father Rick and Grandfather Phil Cramer’s footsteps.

Cramer begins his first year with Big Walnut after volunteering 13 years at Elm Valley Fire Department in Ashley.

Along with his volunteer work with Elm Valley and Big Walnut, Cramer works full time as an EMT for Morrow County EMS.

Cramer’s grandmother Sandra Cramer was present for the swearing in ceremony. She said her husband Phil was with the Ashley and Big Walnut Fire Departments 45 years. He passed away two years ago.

“The Cramers have had firefighters in the family since 1883,” Brandon said.

Cramer said he found out about his great-great- great grandfather Willis Cramer’s legacy of fire-fighting from Captain Ron Stewart at the Elm Valley Fire Department in Ashley.

Stewart has a photo from 1883 where all the fire fighters were wearing Civil War era uniforms. Willis Cramer’s name is listed in the front row.

Fire fighting has continued in the family for six generations following Willis. Willis’ son Jesse Cramer followed Willis and Charles (Chuck) followed Jesse at the Ashley fire station.

Cramer’s grandfather Phil followed Chuck in Ashley and was Assistant Fire Chief in Marengo’s Big Walnut. Brandon’s dad Rick was also with Big Walnut and Assistant Chief there.

Cramer is glad Big Walnut department gave him his grandfather Phil’s number 365, which he’ll carry proudly on his head gear.

Sandra said fire fighting has been a tradition in the family going back to Willis’ generation when there were six or seven brothers in the Ashley Fire Department.

Fire fighting was always a part of Cramer’s life from very early years.

Brandon and Sandra looked at pictures in the hallway of the Big Walnut Fire Department and pointed to pictures of his grandfather and father when he was in the “Explorers” at Big Walnut.

“Explorers” is a youth group where students can ride along and get a feel for the profession and service of fire fighting.

Cramer is proud of his work and career, although it’s been difficult this fall with the many brush fires.

“I have two kids and with all the brush fires lately, I haven’t seen them much,” Brandon said. He was thankful to see rain forecast for the end of the week.

Stewart who was recently named Assistant Chief for Elm Valley was pleased to bring out the photo of Brandon’s ancestor Willis Cramer. He is pretty sure the photo was taken on Decoration Day (now Memorial Day) because there are many wreaths in the photo. The photo is labeled between 1883 and 1890 when the Ashley Department was founded.

“Brandon is very dedicated and loves his work as firefighter and EMT,” Stewart said.

Stewart and Cramer see fire fighting as not only a service, but a way of life as they eat, sleep and think fire fighting. In Brandon’s case, it appears to be in his DNA.

Photo of the Ashley Fire Department between 1883 and 1890 when Brandon’s third great-grandfather Willis Cramer was in the department (front row fifth from left.)
https://www.morrowcountysentinel.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/29/2022/12/web1_Ashley-FD.jpgPhoto of the Ashley Fire Department between 1883 and 1890 when Brandon’s third great-grandfather Willis Cramer was in the department (front row fifth from left.) Photos by Alberta Stojkovic Aim Media Midwest

Big Walnut Fire Chief Lauri Lovell swears in Brandon Cramer with the oath of fire fighters at Big Walnut Joint Fire District. He then signed the Pillar of Pride beside his father Rick’s name.
https://www.morrowcountysentinel.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/29/2022/12/web1_PXL_20221111_002657409_2.jpgBig Walnut Fire Chief Lauri Lovell swears in Brandon Cramer with the oath of fire fighters at Big Walnut Joint Fire District. He then signed the Pillar of Pride beside his father Rick’s name. Photos by Alberta Stojkovic Aim Media Midwest

Brandon Cramer will proudly carry the number of his grandfather Phil Cramer 365 on his helmet for Big Walnut.
https://www.morrowcountysentinel.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/29/2022/12/web1_PXL_20221111_003140330_2.jpgBrandon Cramer will proudly carry the number of his grandfather Phil Cramer 365 on his helmet for Big Walnut. Photos by Alberta Stojkovic Aim Media Midwest
Big Walnut and Elm Valley Fire Stations

By Alberta Stojkovic

For the Sentinel