The truck that started it all! While we now franchise our mobile food trailer concept Rescue Dog started life in this 1972 Gerstenslager heavy rescue truck. We still use this icon for promotional events and it remains parked at the Rescue Dog corporate headquarters in Kalispell MT
The Gerstenslager Fire Truck began life as a Heavy Rescue unit for the Salem, IL Fire Department in 1972. Specially ordered for the department it had all the upgrades with an International Body, Caterpillar Diesel Motor, and the Gerstenslager TV-21 Body. It served the small Illinois community until 2000 when it was retired with a mere 17,000 miles. However, it had saved many lives during it's time at the department along with the brave firefighters who manned it.
In 2000 it was put up for sale as a decommissioned firetruck. Seizing the opportunity, The Milwaukee Bells, a fraternal organization of retired firefighters purchased the truck. In the truck's second life it was converted into a food/refreshment truck. The next 20 years were spent chasing fires and helping our brave heroes by serving hungry firemen on fire locations.
Then in 2020 the Milwaukee Bells put the Gertenslager up for sale. Robert King happened upon the listing and an idea was born, Rescue Dog.
The original idea was to serve Gourmet Hot Dogs off the firetruck and support animal adoption centers by donating tips and a portion of every sale to them. Lovingly called "The Big Dog" the trio worked on getting the truck fully converted for their idea. However, the idea grew and grew. The concept was too good to use as just a one off idea, and the Founders decided to switch the business model to food trailers and kept The Big Dog as their promotional vehicle.