Volunteer your time and talents

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 15, 2003

In this day of modernized everything, from cars that talk and give you directions, to telephones that you can carry on your belt, used to send pictures with; it is simply amazing that the little things most times go unchanged.

Such is the case with volunteer fire departments. In this state, more than 90 percent of our fire departments are volunteer in nature, which means there is no pay given (although admittedly it would be nice) and people have to leave their jobs, beds, homes, etc. to answer the alarms for needed help.

But it sometimes becomes too easy to say, "They will be there when we need them." That is not actually the case though, because unfortunately most of the firefighters we knew when we were younger have gotten on in age to a point where as much as they would like to help, they are not physically able to do so.

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And then we find that new industry is interested in our area, and commits to building factories in our neighborhoods. While this is good, we need to realize that we have a part in this also.

When a factory that is employing 400 people has a fire alarm, it is our sound duty as good citizens to see to it that fire personnel and equipment able to provide fire suppression are dispatched n post haste.

The industry coming into our area has entrusted many millions of dollars worth of facilities, equipment, technology and most importantly n jobs, in the fact that we will do our part to supply our talents as employees, but also as good neighbors and citizens. That means we need to look around at each other and in the mirror, and ask ourselves, "Do I care enough to help?"

On Sept. 11, 2001, we as a nation declared that firefighters and police officers were our greatest heroes.

Being a firefighter takes, first off n some sort of ability, whether it is actual physical ability through firefighting, or the ability to raise funds to help support the departments. Or it may just be that although a person cannot fight fire themselves, they can n and would if asked, pitch in to help file paperwork, perform maintenance on fire trucks and other equipment, and probably anything else asked of them.

Every fire department and rescue unit in the state has resources available to train personnel with, either at a central location or in someone's home. The point is, training is available, just not used by increasing numbers of volunteers.

We owe it to our children to make sure that our volunteer support agencies are well-staffed with people willing to give of themselves whenever the call is given.

This county has many very talented and equipped fire departments, all of them volunteer. The point is, they need help n desperately.

So when you stand in front of the mirror tonight, ask yourself the question we have posed above. Ask yourself if you care enough to give of your time and talent. Ask if you care enough to help.